It’s About Ice, A Fast Ride, and Pottstown’s Musicians

POTTSTOWN PA – Why let the ice and snow of this week’s winter storm get you down? Instead let it, and a musical score called “Ice Ride” commissioned and performed by Pottstown Middle School‘s 7th and 8th Grade Band, give you a lift.

A YouTube video (above) – delivered Thursday (Feb. 18, 2021) by e-mail at 1 p.m. from Pottstown School District board member John Armato – focuses on the playing abilities of individual band members filmed in socially distanced locations, and the leadership skills of band Director Katie German. It features a 3-minute, 20-second piece by composer Ben Hylton created specifically for the band, accompanied by cinematic sound effects.

Hylton and his Hylton Music Design team, located in South Carolina, are known across the country and beyond for crafting musical scores for dozens of performing bands and orchestras of all sizes.

Mindful of the strain the coronavirus could place on her musicians, German said she went “looking for … music that would be fun for the students to learn virtually.” She approached Hylton last October seeking a piece on which band members could practice individually and collaboratively from their homes.

As an alternative, he suggested creating something new and solely for Pottstown. Sure, German acknowledged, the idea was intriguing, so she and Hylton “had several meetings over the phone to discuss the theme and musical elements of the piece.”

The director had a firm idea of what she wanted: something with a winter theme, German said. Her students refined the request even more. They voted for the piece to sound “dark (or) angry” and, at the same time, “whimsical,” she added. Happily, the cost fit comfortably into the music department’s budget.

With those guidelines in mind, German explained, Hylton “came up with the idea of ‘Ice Ride’ and modeled it after the composition style of Danny Elfman, composer of the soundtracks to ‘Nightmare Before Christmas‘ and ‘Beetlejuice‘.” Hylton had it finished by mid-November.

Excited band members didn’t wait to dive into learning the piece. They started shortly after Hylton’s sheets arrived, and had honed it so thoroughly that their recordings were completed during the first week of February. The finished video, produced by Skynine LLC, was released last weekend.

Watch the final product above, or see it at German’s YouTube channel, here.

Flexible Flyers photo by Keith Jarrett via Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license