Members of the Grove High School Concert Band and Grove School Superintendent Sandy Coaly will receive honors this week in Tulsa.
The band, led by Joe Wilhelm II and Joseph Wilhelm III, has been picked as one of three bands slated to perform during the opening concert of the 2018 Oklahoma Music Educators Association convention, while Coaly will be recognized as the 2018 OkMEA Administrator of the Year.
Administrator of the Year
Coaly will be recognized at 6 p.m., in the Manchester Room of the DoubleTree downtown in Tulsa, as part of the OkMEA events.
The award is designed to recognize school administrators who "show exceptional support for their school’s music program."
OkMEA officials say recipients of the award "demonstrate support of music as an important part of the total curriculum, attend public performances of school ensembles, and support the school and/or district music faculty."
Katie Robinson, OkMEA Editor, said administrators are nominated by their faculty, recommended by the OkMEA Awards committee, and confirmed by the OkMEA Executive Board.
Coaly said she's pleased to be named administrator of the year, giving credit not only to members of the school board, but also the community who passed the bond issue to complete the Grove Performing Arts Center.
"Who can beat what I affectionately call the 'Wilhelm boys'," Coaly said. "Mr. Wilhelm the second and Mr. Wilhelm the third are a great combo. We are blessed to have both of them."
Coaly said the band's recognition is testament to the "strong program" the district offers through the Pride of Grove High School Band.
"We have outstanding and talented students," Coaly said. "Our students are so talent. That makes it easy to support [the music program]. They go above and beyond."
About the band's honors
This is the first time Grove's concert band has been picked as one of the six musical groups slated to perform during the convention.
Joe Wilhelm said during his 37 year career with Grove, the junior and senior high jazz bands have performed three times for the OkMEA conventions.
"It's pretty exciting and very gratifying," Wilhelm said, adding the students have put in numerous hours in extra evening and weekend rehearsals, in addition to the regular music performances, in the last few months.
"It's exciting and intense because we want [the performance] to be fabulous," Wilhelm said. "I think we have the right songs and the right band for the concert."
Wilhelm said the band had two very good rehearsals last week. Rehearsals set for Monday evening and Tuesday, as well as the dress rehearsal concert - the open house for the performing arts center, were canceled due to inclement weather.
"I [still] think this will be a great time to show off our students to the state," Wilhelm said. "Despite the flu and weather, we are ready."
Wilhelm said he hopes to have at least one practice, if not two by Thursday, with this year's guest musician Jesse Schartz, TSgt, a GHS graduate who plays the bassoon in the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band.
In past years, Wilhelm said he sought out GHS graduates with ties to the various jazz groups performing at the convention.
This year, he looked for a graduate who had connections with the concert band. Schartz, who graduated in 1995, played in a concert at the OkMEA convention during his high school career.
Schartz was a two-year member of the All-State Concert Band.
"We were lucky, the Air Force made this performance an official trip," Wilhelm said, adding Schartz is slated to talk this week with band students about his experience as a 18-year member of the Air Force band, weather permitting.
In addition to the band's honors, two of the district's students have been picked to perform as part of the all-state ensembles.
Ben Cloud has been picked for the 2018 Oklahoma All-State Honor Jazz Band. This is the third year Cloud has been selected for this honor. Only one guitarist is selected each year.
Taylor Langston has been selected as a trombonist for the 2018 Oklahoma All-State Jazz Band. This is Langston's second year for the all-state honors. In 2017, she was a member of the All-State Concert Band.
As a third year member of the All-State Jazz Band, Wilhelm said Cloud will receive a third-year medalion.
"To be the best in the state three years in a row says it all," Wilhelm said. "He's the most talented guitarist I've ever had. He's the real deal."
Wilhelm said he was proud of Langston for earning all state honors for a second year.
"She's a great student and individual and very talented trombone player," Wilhelm said. "She's been in band since middle school, and I think she plans to major in music and become a music teacher."
Schartz has served as a musician in the United States Air Force for 18 years.
He is assigned to the Heritage of America Band, one of 10 Air Force bands that travel throughout the world. Schartz's band performs mainly on the east coast, traveling from Maine to South Carolina.
He got his start as both a trumpet and bassoon player while a student in Grove.
During his middle school years, Wilhelm challenged Schartz to try playing the bassoon.
"At first I said no, but then I heard one of his high school guys playing it, and it was unique and strange," Schartz said. "I was attracted to the uniqueness and the strangeness."
As a full-time professional musician, Schartz said his job includes serving as pat of the Air Force's education outreach, interacting with the public on a variety of levels.
During his Air Force career, Schartz has performed throughout Europe. One of his most memorable trips involved playing in a woodwind quartet which performed at the consulate and embassy in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
He was also one of the musicians picked to perform at the opening of President Bill Clinton's Presidential Library in Little Rock. During that event he performed for five living presidents - Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.
"This is a unique way to represent your country," Schartz said. "Through our music, we represent the Air Force and help put a face to that branch of the service.
"It's always cool to see how music can be a bridge between people and nations."
Schartz said he was drawn to music. He remember telling his parents he wanted to be in band before his fifth grade year - first playing the saxophone, and later the bassoon.
He said he is proud to be an Pride of Grove alumni, crediting Wilhelm's efforts for giving him a launch pad to become a musician in college and later the Air Force.
"In high school we did all kinds of music and played in all kinds of different ensembles," Schartz said. "Wilhelm challenged me to audition for all kinds of summer programs."
He said those programs, which included the Tulsa Youth Symphony, taught him to strive for a higher standard of performances.
"I'm so honored [Wilhelm] thought of me," Schartz said.
Schartz is the son of Bob and Linda Schartz of Grove. He met his wife, Rebecca, while she served as a clarinetist with the Air Force band. She now works as a full-time nurse.