Reann Huber intern Five students from Morgan County Middle School (MCMS) and Morgan County High School (MCHS) participated in the Georgia Music Educators All State Band last weekend. This annual event features the top musician throughout the state of Georgia. According to Karisa Seymour, MCMS band director, this year granted the most student representation Morgan County schools has ever had during the All-State Band weekend. The Morgan County students who made it to the All State Band were eighth-grade trumpet players Thomas Fulcher and Ramon Zamudio, eighth grade percussionist Will Paschal, eighth grade tuba player Henry Hofer, 10th grade euphonium player Nathan Mullins, 10th grade alternate alto sax player Caron Adams. A total of 28 students from Morgan County schools participated in this year’s GMEA District Honor Band, too, this year. “The kids who want to work for the higher level, personal achievement.
That’s how they can do that beyond class, because that’s certainly an individual work ethic that they need to be able to do,” Morgan County High band director, Jeffrey Rowser, speaks on behalf of the District IV Honor Band participants. “For those accelerated kids that want to do more, the honor band program is certainly one of those that will help them grown musically.” Fourteen students from MCHS were selected to perform in this year’s District IV Honor Band that took place on February 5 and 6 at Stephenson High in Stone Mountain. One student, Nathan Mullins, was also selected to perform in the All State Honor Band, which took place this past weekend at the University of Georgia. Those picked for District IV Honor Band go through two rounds of auditions. The first took place back in December while the final round took place in January. Students auditions will vary from grade level. They play anywhere from eight to 12 musical scales, as well as a sight-reading piece. Students are given a certain amount of time to look over a short musical piece they have not seen before and then asked to play it for the judges. During the first round, students must perform a lyrical etude preselected for them as well, and a lyrical and technical etude during the final round. Rowser makes the most of this event for the kids. “We make it a weekend event,” Rowser says. “They miss school.
We go in on a Friday, stay at a local hotel. And we’ll generally go bowling or do some other activity in the evening.” Nonetheless, those students who participate still have a very busy weekend. “The band performed extremely well,” Rowser says about the students’ overall performance. “[They] had great music literature that they worked on. It’s pretty amazing because the kids get the music on Friday morning and then rehearse all Friday and Saturday up until lunch time, and then you have a concert that afternoon.” Five of the Morgan County High students in the ninth and 10th grade band were conducted by Chandler Wilson, a Florida A&M University alumnus, and the other nine students in the 11th and 12th grade band were conducted by Dr. Jaclyn Hartenberger, a University of Texas at Austin alumna. The ninth and 10th grade band performed five pieces, with their feature songs being Windsprints composed by Richard Saucedo and Amparaita Roca composed by Jamie Texidor. The 11th and 12th grade band performed four pieces, and their feature songs were Fu Mon composed by Hiroshi Hoshina and The Big Cage composed by Karl King.
“It’s exciting for those students because they get to work with other students like themselves and that’s kind of the cool thing of making honor band,” Rowser says. The students work together on challenging musical literature and learn to prepare and perform these compositions in very short period of time. It takes effort and skill. Rowser showed how proud he was of his kids from Morgan County High and how well they represented the band, the school, as well as himself. When asked how he sees the role of music through education, Rowser stressed the importance of teamwork and also the importance of the individual in every role. “Teaching life skills, coping skills through music, teaching kids the value of teamwork and responsibility because when the band plays, everybody has a role to make that band successful, not just the best player,” Rowser replies. “Even the weaker players have a role that they have to be able to produce. That’s a team concept that everybody belongs. We don’t send in substitutes…everybody’s a starter.” MCMS students in the District Honor Band this year included Michala Bryant, Aliya Baig, Kate Seymour, Alyssa Porter, Michael Peters, Keller Zamudio, Garrett Murrell, Simon LeClair, and Daisy Jane Buck. MCHS students in the District Honor Band this year included Zachary Seymour, Kaitlyn Alligood, Colter Smith, Frances Smith, Elizabeth Stephens, Casey O’Neal, Cassidy Hofer, Bobby Jones, Brittany Thomas and Emma Alligood.