The piece titled “F-1” may not move as fast as the race cars, but the feel of the music portrays the sense of anticipation when played by the Cross Creek Charter Academy symphonic band, directed by David Steketee.
Commissioned by Steketee for the school’s 25th anniversary, the song begins with the entire band building anticipation for the coming percussion breaks. Trumpets and woodwinds then pair for climbing runs, preparing for the song’s melody. It’s a noble and celebratory piece of music that promotes feelings of pride and security – themes held strongly by the school.
“It’s the 25th anniversary, so I wanted to do something that’s unique,” Steketee said. “Commissions are done a lot but they’re expensive, so it’s not done often by any one school, so this is our one and only for a while.”
Composer Randall Standridge was hired to write the piece to fit the instrumentation and ability levels of the seventh/eighth grade symphonic band. The band debuted the piece during a performance in May. The $3,000 cost for the composition was quickly covered with a fundraising effort by school supporters.
“I was excited, our whole administration was excited, the Cross Creek family was excited, it was great,” Steketee said.
Band students experienced challenges because of COVID-19, not being able to play as freely due to most instruments requiring breath to make sounds. Steketee said the song provides a lot of room for his students to play together, which helps with their comfort levels.
“Anytime where they’re playing by themselves, the kids don’t like it so much,” he said. “COVID has really brought our ability level down, so when the music is fast and full instrumentation, it’s much better for their confidence.”
Being able to direct students through the song proved to be a joy for Steketee and being part of something that will live on into Cross Creek’s future adds to the director’s sense of pride.
“I just wanted to do something cool and having our name on the masthead of that piece is pretty rad,” he said. “It’ll be there forever.”
Watch the Cross Creek Charter Academy Symphonic Band play the school song.
About Cross Creek Charter Academy
Cross Creek Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Byron Center, Mich. serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.