SULPHUR SPRINGS – On Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15-16, all three Sulphur Springs Middle School contest bands traveled to Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana for Region UIL competition.
“The UIL contest is the focal point of our band year,” explained Spencer Emmert, SSMS Band Director. “Our students have worked extremely hard for many weeks for this contest. We are so proud of their dedication and commitment to their team.”
The students attended extra rehearsals, sectionals and individual training throughout much of the spring semester in preparation for this important event.
Bands from the across the region spanning from Greenville to Texarkana performed at the contest in hopes for the coveted sweepstakes award that is only given to bands who received a first division in both their stage and sight-reading performances.
The honors band, directed by Emmert, competed as the varsity band at the contest.
“I was very ambitious this year with the literature I picked for us to play for the judges,” Emmert said. “It was quite a challenge the students took on with vigor and enthusiasm, which resulted in an extremely impressive performance.”
The honors band received first divisions on stage and in sight-reading, winning a sweepstakes trophy.
“The judges caught me after our performance in the office and really had major compliments for these kids, going so far as to say they sounded like a high school group,” Emmert noted. “I was so proud for them, and this performance on this difficult literature is continuing to build upon the Sulphur Springs band students’ legacy.”
The symphonic band, directed by Robert McDaniel, competed as the non-varsity band at the contest and played an ambitious program as well.
They received straight ones from all six judges on stage and in the sight-reading room and brought home another sweepstakes award for SSMS.
“I am so proud of these students for working very hard to achieve their goal of a sweepstakes award,” McDaniel said. “Last year, we fell just short of the mark, so this year was extra sweet. Congratulations to the kids and thanks for all of their hard work.”
The concert band, directed by Jennifer Turner, competed as the sub non-varsity band at the contest.
As SSMS had the only band program in the region with three contest bands, they were the only sub non-varsity band competing at the contest.
“This, in and of itself, is a great accomplishment for our bands,” Emmert said.
The SSMS Concert Band received all first divisions for their stage performance and a second division on a tough sight-reading piece.
“Being the only sub non-varsity group there, these students performed with professionalism and represented SSMS very well,” Turner said, “I am so proud that their hard work paid off with an impressive performance at contest.”
The SSMS bands will compete at the Sound Post Music Festival in Canton in May for more ratings from judges and will present their Spring Concert at SSMS on May 20.
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