By Sophia Jaquez
Last month our very own McDonald County High School Concert Band made school history when they went to compete at the State Concert Band Competition in Webb City, Mo. The last time the MCHS Concert Band went to this competition was 13 years ago.
The band not only made history because of the 13 year competition drought, but also because of the ratings that they received. The Concert Band received Exemplary ratings from all three judges in the performance room and the judge in the sight reading room.
For those of you who were never in band, I’ll explain what an Exemplary ratings means beyond the vague definition of “It’s a good score!”.
Band competitions work way differently than sports, so just get all of that out of your head. At a band competition, a musician or an ensemble performs and a judge gives them a rating based on how well they performed the music.
The judges look at a wide variety of things, such as posture and note accuracy, when they listen to a group perform. Below is a copy of what a judging form looks like, as you can see there are spaces for check marks. The judge places a check mark in the rating box they feel describes how well the music was performed.
At the state competition, bands perform two prepared pieces for three judges (each sat in a different part of the performance room to hear all parts of the ensemble) and sight read a piece of music for another judge. Each judge gets their own form to fill out, and then each give their own rating of the band’s performance.
At the state competition the concert band performed Burnished Brass by Cacavas and American Riversongs by Pierre La Plante.
Joe Wilhelm, the new band director this year, said “I’m so proud of the students, they far exceeded my expectation as well as their own. It’s not easy to go to a competition of that caliber and receive all exemplary ratings after not attending for 13 years. This is what traditions are built on, and I look forward to competing again next year”.
As a member of the band, I can say that these pieces are definitely not easy, and that I am beyond proud of the months of hard work that everyone put in for an awesome performance. This would have never been possible without everyone in the program working their hardest to achieve things we never thought were possible.