Collins Field House filled up quickly Saturday morning as people gathered in the gymnasium for a concert given by the 49th annual Lion's Club State Band.
The band itself included 296 high school students who came from all over Kansas to be a part of the group. This number itself impressed Baldwin High School band director Will Cooper who was involved in running the event.
"I think it's the biggest group we've ever had," Cooper said.
"It's been a great week."
Baker University band director Ray James agreed. "We've had no major incidents this week. It's just a neat bunch of kids."
James explained that the event itself is part of the Kansas Lions' Convention, which is held in Olathe.
"Every year they support a Lion's band," James said. "These students are chosen by their high school band directors and sponsored through local Lion's clubs."
The students involved in this year's event arrived at Baker on
Tuesday morning and spent the next five days preparing to give a concert on Saturday.
"It's pretty intense," said Kari Brooks, a sophomore trumpet
player from Independence. She said that the group spent most of the day practicing, with only a few hours of free time in the evening. This amount of practice time is necessary to be ready for the concert.
"Some of the music we hadn't even seen before," explained Brandon Moore, a senior at Eudora High School who plays the euphonium. However, he said the group had no trouble learning the music in time.
Moore also enjoyed the activities planned for the group's free
time. Some of these included swimming and a movie night, "And there's a dance," he added.
Overall both Moore and Brooks enjoyed being a part of the band.
"I learned a lot. I met a lot of people," Brooks said. "It's one of the greatest experiences I've ever had."
"Mr. James is a great conductor. It's been fun," Moore said.
Scott Bowles, a senior at Baldwin High School found out this
week that he is going to Honolulu. Bowles was selected as drum major for the International Lion's Club Band, which will meet in Hawaii at the end of July.
"I was really surprised," Bowles said. "There were a lot of people trying out. I'm really happy."
During the week the Lions' Club State Band stayed at Baker,
students auditioned for the international band. Bowles is one of 115
musicians from Kansas who will be a part of the larger group.
Bowles was a part of last year's International Lions' Club Band,
which met in San Diego. He has also played in the K-State and Baker
University honor bands and at KMEA state band.
Bowles enjoys playing with these types of bands and had a good week playing at Baker. One reason is because of the size of the group.
"Playing with over a 300 piece band, all that talent in a room at
one time, it's just neat to be with," Bowles said.