INDIANAPOLIS – The 2017 National FFA Band performed for the first time at the Indianapolis Artsgarden on Tuesday. The band is composed of FFA members from around the country and is directed by Joe LaJoye.
The performance celebrated 20th-century popular music with an assortment of genres, featuring a jazz piece, a rock ‘n’ roll medley including “The Twist” and “Y.M.C.A.,” an Earth, Wind & Fire tribute and an ‘80s hits medley that incorporated the Phantom of the Opera theme.
National FFA Band members applied to be part of the ensemble in the summer, submitting an online application and a video audition. Roughly 80 to 90 members are selected each year for the band.
Blake Segars from the Franklin County FFA Chapter in Georgia said being in the National FFA Band is “a life-changing experience, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” This is his second year in the band on the trumpet.
At the performance, Director LaJoye said this year’s band started rehearsals on Saturday. This is his last year as the band’s director, a position he has held for 25 years. Assistant director Spencer White will assume LaJoye’s role in 2018.
Second-year band member and euphonium player Noah Findling from the Kirksville FFA Chapter in Missouri said the most exciting part about being in the band is performing on stage.
“Sitting on the stage, seeing everyone out there … you just feel special,” Findling said.
The National FFA Band has more performances during the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, finishing up at the National FFA Band and Chorus Concert on Friday at 6 p.m. in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Dene Dryden is a sophomore at Kansas State University studying creative writing. An alumna of the Palco FFA Chapter in Kansas, she is serving as a reporter for the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Crew.