Elite at the Meet

SSMS only school to have both bands get top scores at annual contest

From Staff Reports

April 22, 2008 - Sulphur Springs Middle School's 7th and 8th grade band came home from the University Interscholastic League concert and sight-reading competition with two sweepstakes awards, placing the band students among the state's elite middle school musicians.

SSMS was the only school at the contest to have both teams competing receive straight 1s, or excellent ratings, at the New Boston contest.

Each portion of the contest is graded by three separate judges giving each band a rating. They are rated on their concert performance as well as sight-reading of unfamiliar works.

For the concert portion, the bands each spent much of the spring semester preparing three musical pieces selected from the list of music presrbiced by UIL of Texas.

The seventh grade band, directed by Peter Anderson, played "The Challenger March" by Ann McGinty, "Wildwind Overture" by John Kinyon and "Medieval Legend" by Michael Story. The band received first division ratings from all three judges on stage.

In the sight-reading room, each band was required to perform a piece of music that they had never seen before. The seventh graders also received "straight ones" in the sight-reading room from all three judges, giving the seventh grade band the coveted sweepstakes award for the 2007-2008 season.

"The seventh grade band made a very favorable impression on the judges," director Anderson said of the April 10-11 UIL contest in New Boston. "There were at least three of the judges that went out of their way to congratulate us on our performance. I was extremely proud and pleased with the way the students performed."

The eighth grade band, directed by Spencer Emmert, played "Spirit of America March" by Ken Harris, "Danse Antiqua" by Chris Sharp and "Joy" by Frank Tichelli. Like their seventh grade counterparts, the eighth grade band also received first divisions from all three concert judges and first divisions from all three sight-reading judges, and the sweepstakes award.

"This is an incredible honor and is a direct result of the hard work and dedication that these students have and are continuing to exhibit," said Spencer Emmert, head band director at SSMS. "The band program is continuing to build in so many ways, and the future is looking bright."

With top marks in UIL under their belts, the SSMS bands are now preparing for the SoundPost Music Festival in Canton May 8. The this will be the SSMS students' first time to compete at the event.

-- Information submitted by SSMS Head Band Director Spencer Emmert

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