By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - "It was a tremendous honor to be able to come back here and work in my alma mater. Shenandoah always has a deep love in my heart, and I'll never ever forget that." ~ Shenandoah Valley Band Director Walter Choplick during Thursday night's "The Sounds of Spring" concert.
Midway through the concert, featuring Shenandoah Valley's Junior/Senior High Concert Band, Jazz Band, and Percussion Ensemble, Choplick took an opportunity between songs to recognize the band's outgoing seniors. What he didn't expect was Sophomore Trombone Sean James to recognize him.
"Saying goodbye isn't the easiest, to all our seniors... but one more person leaving at the end of this year is Mr. Choplick, and he has been a teacher, he has been a best friend, he has been a father figure to each and every single one of us... so, congratulations to Mr. Choplick." James said, before the audience of parents, students, and area residents.
Senior French Horn Rocco Roguskie presented Choplick with an award, reading "Mr. Walter Choplick, In Appreciation of your Hard Word & Dedication. SV Band. May 2017".
Choplick received a standing ovation from the crowd as he received the award. He went on to speak about the performers on stage, expressing high hopes for their futures.
"I love these kids to death. Telling them that I was leaving was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. They know I was shaking the entire time, I was so nervous... but I know that these kids are going to keep on the great lengths and great accomplishments that they have made. They've worked so hard for me, and I know they're going to work just as hard, if not even harder for the next person that takes my place, so thank you again very much, guys, I love you all."
Also recognized during the concert were the band's eight seniors, who received graduation gifts on stage. Those seniors are: Marisol Velazquez, Devin Davis, David Lindenmuth, Rocco Roguskie, Liz Rosa de Aza, Lynn Rosa de Aza, Briana Ryan, and Emily Tovar.
Several students received awards as well. Emily Tovar received the National School Marching Award, Rocco Roguskie received the John Phillips Sousa Award. Michael McGinn, Heather Maurer, Rylea Gaverick, Kathy Selbi, Angelina Tovar, Brianna Mazack, and Sean James were awarded Letterman Jackets.
To open the concert, the Shenandoah Valley Percussion Ensemble, directed by Jordan Franko, performed "Wood, Metal, Skin" by John Gottry, followed by the Jazz Band's performance of "American Patrol by F.W. Meacham, "Work Song" by Nat Adderley, and "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" arranged by Rick Stitzel. The concert band performed "Abracadabra" by Frank Ticheli, "Lux Arumque" by Eric Whitacre, "Chorale and Shaker Dance II" by John Zdechlik, "Anthracite" by Anthony O'Toole, "Arabian Dances" by Brian Balmages, "Autobahn" by Ryan George, and "Paper Cut" by Alex Shapiro. The Jazz and Concert Bands were under the direction of Choplick.