CRESTVIEW — Davidson Middle School band director Chris Tredway conducted the recent All-State Middle School Band in Tampa. Here, we catch up with Tredway.
When did you start working at Davidson Middle?
I came to Davidson in 2008.
Have you directed the All-State Band before or was it your first year?
I directed the All State Middle School Honor Band several years ago. That band is composed of students who have been recommended for consideration by their band directors.
This was the first time I have ever conducted the All State Middle School Band. This group is sometimes called the auditioned band because the students must earn a spot in this band completely on the basis of how well they play their audition music in the fall. Those students with the highest audition scores are selected.
What was the experience like for you?
It was a great deal of fun to work with a room full of advanced students who are serious about their music. It allowed me to challenge the students to go beyond playing the correct notes and think about all the nuances that can connect the music with an audience. What is the mood of this piece? How can we convey that feeling to the listener? What happens if we stretch the beat a little bit at the end of this phrase? Should all the notes get equal emphasis or should some notes be brought out more than others? There was definitely a lot of higher-order thinking going on in our rehearsals!
At the same time, there was some stress that came from wanting to do a good job and be a good representative for Okaloosa County, the city of Crestview and Davidson Middle School.
How many local students were in the band?
Anna Todd from Shoal River Middle played the flute in the band that I conducted and Alex Brown from Davidson Middle played the tuba in the Honor Band. In addition, Crestview High School had the following students attend All State: Emmalee Odom, Bassoon, 11-12 Symphonic Band; Jith Vishwanath, Trombone, 11-12 Symphonic Band; Regan Wakeland, Clarinet, 11-12 Symphonic Band; Sara Simms, Flute, 9-10 Concert Orchestra; and Lucas Kornegay, Bass, 9-10 Concert Orchestra.
How long have you had a passion for music?
My first time playing an instrument was in a beginning band class in the sixth grade ... I found out right away that I loved playing the clarinet and being a part of the band. I still love everything about music. It engages the mind and the heart all at once. There is always something new to explore or some new technical challenge to conquer.
What advice would you give to students interested in a career in music?
If someone is interested in becoming a music teacher, then I would say apply yourself to your main instrument. Become an expert and an accomplished performer because it is impossible to take others to a musical place where you have never been. In addition, ask yourself if you have two large passions: a passion for music and a passion for people. Both are equally necessary.
If someone is interested in a performing career, I would say that you must be ready to practice several hours every day and you must have mountains of determination. Performing jobs are similar to being selected for the Florida All State Band in that you must outplay all other applicants to get a position. It is very competitive.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
We have a rich and deep band heritage here in Crestview and in Okaloosa County. The consistent quality of the band programs here only happens where the community and all levels of administration share a belief in and a commitment to the value of what music education can do for students. It is my privilege to be teaching where the study of music is valued and supported.