HAPPY NOTES: Helfrich Park band heads to state conference for the first time


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Instead of heading to class Thursday morning, Helfrich Park STEM Academy band students woke up early for a trip of a lifetime.

For the first time in the middle school’s history, the varsity band will perform at the Indiana Music Education Association’s Professional Development Conference.

Eyewitness News caught up with the band as the Pumas prepare to perform.

“It’s so friendly and everyone’s family,” said Helfrich Park 7th grader Emma DeVries.

For DeVries, the time she spends playing her French horn in band class is her favorite.

“Beautiful instrument,” said DeVries. “The sound is so big.”

Fellow 7th grader, Hailey Mapp sits a few seats over from DeVries playing the flute.

“My mom played the flute and my aunt before her played the flute,” said Mapp. “So it fell down the family line.”

A class that has sparked a passion for music in both girls.

“You can put so much into it,” said Mapp. “And it’s just like..everyone here is because they love doing it.”

Mapp and DeVries plus over 70 other Helfrich Park band students have been selected to play for the Indiana Music Education Association’s Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne.

“Excited to get the opportunity to play in front of all these important band directors,” said DeVries.

This is the first time an EVSC middle school band will perform at the conference.

The last EVSC band to perform at the event was Reitz High School in 1991.

“It just makes everyone so excited to be a part of this,” said DeVries. “To like make history.”

But the application process wasn’t easy.

“We had to submit a program resume,” said Helfrich Park band director Doug Goodwin. “A portion of the application was director resume. And also then recordings from the two years prior. We had to submit three recordings of three separate pieces of music that showed varying styles.”

The band will perform seven songs Friday.

“You’re supporting the whole band,” said DeVries. Like everyone supports each other.”

With after school rehearsals, and individual practices at home, the band is ready to play in perfect harmony.

“Leave that stage knowing they made music together as a family,” said Goodwin.

Not only will Helfrich Park perform at the conference but superintendent Dr. David Smith will conduct one of the pieces.

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(This story was originally published on January 16, 2020)

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