Big Rapids Public Schools Music Program Plans Return to Performance


BIG RAPIDS — The Big Rapids Public Schools Program looks forward to another year of bringing music to the district.

The Big Rapids High School Band is made up of two concert ensembles, a marching band, a jazz ensemble, and 10-14 chamber ensembles.

High school group principal Brian Balch said his students were always eager to get started.

“(Band) is definitely an integral part of the program,” Balch said. “When the fall school year starts, it’s very exciting and it’s probably our most motivated time of the year. We are the first of all the groups here, and the children are always delighted to be back. The freshman can get an idea, which is great.

The BRHS Band program is a small, non-competitive Class B school consisting of an auditioned wind symphony and a non-auditioned concert band.

The 90-member group has a highly successful chamber music program, including seven small ensemble nominations at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival in 2019 and small ensemble appearances at festivals in 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Balch said the fall will consist of many school-sanctioned performances.

“A lot of what we do throughout the year is based on cheering, football, soccer and other extracurricular events,” Balch said. “We will perform often for most games and parades in Big Rapids and Ferris. We also do some competitions on Saturdays, so we have a lot of school spirit. We get a lot of recognition at assemblies and support from the student body.

The school marching band is now a four-time Class B champion at the Cedar Springs Invitational and has earned A’s at the District Marching Festival for the past 10 seasons.

The program held a successful fundraiser in early June at Buffalo Wild Wings and raised over $800 for the New Year.

The district music camp will run until July 29, which many students and instructors are looking forward to.

“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is getting back to our camp,” Balch said. “It’ll be good to rekindle that tradition for the kids who join us and can’t wait to get back. It’s just for morale, and I think we have some pretty academic kids, they’re very motivated by the success and strive for something bigger than themselves and work together as a team. It’s a huge reward for the marching bands, and it’s the biggest group of students in the school and we’re really proud of that.

This year, after more than 3 years of savings, the BRPS Board of Education approved the purchase of new marching band uniforms in May and covers 50% of the cost. Uniforms are expected to be ready in late fall 2022, and students will sport the district’s red and blue colors on the field in a new look.

Big Rapids has purchased new marching band uniforms (model shown) for the 2022 season.

Photo courtesy/Big Rapids High School Bands

Balch said the program should have a productive season.

“It looks like it’s going to be a great year,” Balch said. “We have a lot to look forward to and things we want to do.”

For more information about the Big Rapids Band program, visit the program’s Facebook page at


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