Rocking Sturgeon Bay

Heidi Hintz directs the Sturgeon Bay High School band as it prepares for its annual pops concert.

Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Eric Clapton and even Jimmy Buffett are all part of the program in the annual pops concert by band students at Sturgeon Bay High School and TJ Walker Middle School.

“The kids would tell you this is the most fun concert of the year,” said Sturgeon Bay High School band director Heidi Hintz.

She described the Feb. 21 concert as a cabaret-style event featuring classic rock songs from the 1950s into the 21st century, with performances by the middle and high school bands, including jazz and concert bands, as well as the high school wind ensemble.

“It’s a fun atmosphere,” Hintz said. “We have a bucket raffle with donated items from many area businesses and artists. We serve refreshments, very much like a nightclub setting.”

Asked if this was all new music to the students, Hintz said not necessarily.

“It’s interesting because they’re starting to do what we did as kids, look backward and listen to some of the things our parents listened to,” she said.

She pointed out that the students in the Wind Ensemble are enjoying playing Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”

Members of the Sturgeon Bay High School band.

“We might have enjoyed it at the time because it annoyed our parents, but this generation knows it from Shrek (the Third),” Hintz said.

Hintz said she has 85 students in the high school band program and there are probably 150 in Lauri Rosenthal’s middle school band What accounts for such strong programs?

“Having a strong program in band is dependent on a variety of things, the first being having parents who stand behind us, who have been in band or who appreciate the value of the arts,” Hintz said. “That comes from being in such a rich arts community. Without the strong arts commitment in Sturgeon Bay, this program wouldn’t be what it is. There is a strong tradition of musical excellence here. We always have had a supportive school board and administration for arts education.”

Research has shown that the brains of musicians – even young ones – work differently from non-musicians. A U.S. Department of Education study found that students involved in instrumental music during the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.

None of this is news to Hintz.

“Kids in these programs learn so much more than music,” she said. “They really are learning about time management, great communication skills, organizational skills. For this concert, the kids really put on the whole show. They help us with creating the decorations around the theme of classic rock. They seek donations form area businesses, and they write thank you notes at the end to all those who supported the concert.”

There are still bleacher seats left for the 4 pm concert on Saturday, Feb. 21, in the Sturgeon Bay High School gym. The cost is $3, $2 for children ages 7-18, and 6 and below enter at no cost.