Band set to perform piece to memorialize Oregon District shooting victims

by Kolton Schwartz

Mrs. Siler conducts the Wind Ensemble in a rehearsal preparing for their upcoming concert. Note students and their director are dressed up for the Country vs. Country Club spirit day. Picture courtesy of Abbie Stokes.

The band and choir classes are preparing themselves for the first concert of the year on October 21 at 7:00 pm in the auditorium. They have prepared a handful of pieces of music that they have been working hard on all quarter long. One piece being performed this year, however, is not like the other. The heartfelt and sentimental piece was commissioned by the band director, Barb Siler, to honor and respect the fallen victims of the Oregon District Shooting with the support of a consortium of schools that contributed to its creation, including Centerville High School, Kettering Fairmont High School, and even Wright State University.

Composed by John Mackey and titled “Some Treasures are Heavy with Human Tears,” its performance at the upcoming concert will be the first time an audience has heard it. Learning and listening to piece has affected both the students and Mrs. Siler herself. She stated, “When I first played it for them and talked to them about the story, of course I cried and some of them cried. It’s a little bit emotional but when we rehearse, it’s beautiful.” 

Memorial outside of Ned Peppers Bar days after the shooting took place.

The Oregon District Shooting was a tragedy that occurred August 4, 2019. 24-year-old Connor Betts shot and killed nine people and injured 17 others near the entrance of the Ned Peppers Bar in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. The two year anniversary passed prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, but this shooting hits a little too close to home for members of the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School District. Connor Betts was a graduate of Bellbrook High School and lived in the Bellbrook area prior to the event. His sibling, Megan, was a victim of the shooting, a Bellbrook graduate, and a member of Bellbrook’s band program. Mrs. Siler noted, “I’m trying to honor the memory of the event and the people who lost loved ones. It’s meant to honor.”

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