Although the name of the ensemble is officially the Concert Band club, other names to refer to a concert band include wind band, wind ensemble, symphonic band, wind symphony, wind orchestra, or simply, band.
The band president is Haruka Ogasawara, with Asuka Tanaka as vice president, and Kaori Nakaseko as the band accountant. All issues facing the band are discussed and decided in a meeting, attended by the leaders of each instrument section of the ensemble. The nine sections and its leaders are, in score order:
- Flute and Piccolo Section: Kotoko Himegami
- Oboe and Bassoon Section: Kurumi Kitamura
- Clarinet Section: Hirone Torizuka
- Saxophone Section: Haruka Ogasawara
- Trumpet Section: Kaori Nakaseko
- Horn Section: Juri Sawada
- Trombone Section: Hideri Noguchi
- Bass Section: Asuka Tanaka
- Percussion Section: Narai Tanabe
Some band members hold smaller positions, which are often assigned to them. For example, Reina Kousaka is in charge of managing instruments. All first-year students also have the task of preparing the classrooms for practice.
History and Schism
Main article: Kitauji Concert Band Schism
Kitauji's Concert Band was once an extremely competitive ensemble, and, under the dual leadership of Tohru Taki and Reina Kousaka's father, was a regular finalist and frequent gold-medal winner in the final national stage of the All-Japan Band Competition. However, after Taki and Kousaka left the ensemble, it fell from glory and did not see a claim to nationals again, until the arrival of Noboru Taki.
Before Taki junior's revival, the ensemble was under the direction of Rikako-sensei, whom encouraged a lax culture within the ensemble. Her philosophy of valuing enjoyment over achievement, shared by many of the seniors, with met with fierce opposition from a group of first-years spearheaded by Nozomi Kasaki. This led to a major schism within the ensemble, during which the majority of the first-years left the ensemble. According to the anime, the party of first years was joined by many other talented students, leading to nearly half the band deserting by the end of the year.
In the year after the schism, the Kitauji Concert Band was left with a severe shortage of second-years and an extremely harmful decrease in overall quality, as the many of students who quit were the best and brightest musicians in the ensemble.
Prior to coming under new direction, the Kitauji concert band had performed in high school band competitions and exhibitions with other schools. Such events include Sunrise Festival (SunFes) and the prefectural competition - a possible gateway to national competition, with other schools from around Japan. Similar high school band competitions exist in other countries, such as the United States, though the rules applying may vary.
In Japan, competitions are typically conducted with the adjudicators selecting a set piece for all competing bands to play. They are then judged on how well that they can perform the piece, according to rhythm, dynamics, etc.
In Hibike, bands can place in the top 3 categories of gold, silver, or bronze. Gold placing bands are eligible for advancement to the nationals, but this is not guaranteed. Judges select bands from those that placed gold to advance to nationals, and therefore, not every band that placed gold may make it to finals. Such placement is called a "dud gold," as was the case with Kumiko's junior high competition experience.
Like most bands, the Kitauji concert band rehearses sometimes in sectionals. This term refers to a rehearsal in which each instrument section rehearses apart from each other, as opposed to a full ensemble rehearsal. It allows for in-depth focus on parts specific to that instrument group that cannot always be addressed in a full ensemble rehearsal, and creates a greater sense of unity within sections.
Larger sections such as the clarinet section will rehearse on their own, whereas smaller sub-sections such as euphoniums and tubas will rehearse together as one section.
Despite being referred to by some as a "brass band," Kitauji High School's band is in fact a full wind ensemble, consisting of both brass and woodwind instruments, along with percussion and contrabass. Listed in score order is the band's current instrumentation:
- Flute and Piccolo
- Oboe and Bassoon
- Clarinet and E♭ Clarinet
- Bass Clarinet
- Saxophone (Alto, Tenor, Baritone)
- Snare drum
- Bass drum
- Auxillary percussion