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Home News-Telegram News SSMS bands continue tradition of excellence

SSMS bands continue tradition of excellence

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For the third year in a row, both the seventh and eighth grade bands at Sulphur Springs Middle School brought home coveted sweepstakes awards from the University Interscholastic League Concert and Sightreading competition held Tuesday-Wednesday, April 21-22, at Mount Pleasant High School.

To receive the top rating of “first division,” a standard set by the region and state UIL, band students are expected to perform music from the UIL’s pre-approved list at an exceptional level.

For a majority of the spring semester, each band director chooses music and prepares students for this important event.

When a band receives all top ratings for both the concert (or stage) performance and the sightreading performance, they are awarded the “sweepstakes” trophy, UIL music’s top award.

The seventh grade band, directed by Peter Anderson, played Infinity March by James Curnow; Dance Celebration by Robert Smith and Atlantis by Anne McGinty.

They received straight ones (the highest marks possible) from all judges for their stage performance and a composite first division rating on their sightreading.

“The seventh grade band exceeded even my expectations,” Anderson said. “We are all very proud of their accomplishments. Out of 27 schools in Region 4, only four seventh grade (non-varsity) bands received the honor of sweepstakes.”

The eighth grade band, led by head director Spencer Emmert, played Santiago by Karl King, Contempo by Mike Story and Catch the Wind by Mike Hannickle, making up one of the most demanding programs ever attempted by the SSMS band.

“By receiving the top rating from all six judges, both for their concert and sightreading performances on such demanding music, these students really ‘hit one out of the park.’” Emmert noted. “The dedication and commitment these students have shown to our program and to this exceptional achievement is astounding. I would say that they over-achieved this year, but I truly never doubted them for a minute.  Multiple judges commented on the professionalism and class these students exhibited. Sulphur Springs and SSMS have a lot to be proud of.”

With a record number of beginning band students for this year and an exciting incoming class for the 2009-2010 school year, the SSMS and SSISD band programs as a whole have an encouraging and exciting future ahead.

This year’s beginning band will travel on Thursday, April 30, to Carrollton for competition, while the seventh and eighth grade bands will be competing at the SoundPost Music Festival held in Canton on Thursday, May 7.

The bands invite the public to attend their upcoming performances.

An All-Percussion Concert will be held in the high school band facility on Monday, May 11, at 6 p.m.

The high school Jazz Band/Solo and Ensemble state qualifiers’ concert is set for Monday, May 18, at 7 p.m. in the high school band facility.

The middle school band’s spring concert will be on Tuesday, May 19 at 6 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium.

– Spencer Emmert, head SSMS band director contributed
to this article.
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