By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Band celebrated an exemplary school year, marked by impressive achievements, with a group trip to Canada last week.
From March 29 to April 2, The MCHS Band toured Toronto and other parts of Ontario, Canada, including Niagara Falls. MCHS Band Director Jeffrey Rowser led the trip with several other teachers and chaperones.
“Toronto and Niagara Falls allow our students to experience international culture in one of the safest places on earth,” said Rowser, who notes the trip provided real-world experiences from which the students could learn. “Going through customs with a passport or birth certificate, and figuring out the money exchange rate was a tremendous life-learning experience.”
During the trip, the students toured the Ontario Science Center, Toronto City Hall, Casa Loma Castle, and Niagara Falls.
“Seeing the beautiful Niagara Falls was awesome, with many of the students paying a little extra to go underneath to feel the intensity of the water pressure,” said Rowser. “Our visit to the Ontario Science Center was simply incredible and very interactive. We also got to see a live performance of “Come From Away”, a musical themed on the true story of the grounding of an American airline flight in Gander, Ontario.”
Rowser noted that this year’s crop of students behaved as proud representatives of MCHS.
“We always get excited when people meet the Morgan County students and are just wowed with how disciplined the group is in lodging sites, performance sites and evening offering to clean the plane that we have just flown in to help the flight attendants. Our kids say ‘Thank you,’ ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir,’ and so forth,” explained Rowser.
MCHS Teacher Karisa Seymour, who also attended the Canada trip, praised the eclectic experiences to which the students were exposed.
“It was a trip that exceeded everyone’s expectations,” said Seymour. “Students were exposed to every academic area to include science, history, math, language and diversity. It was an awesome educational experience on a variety of levels. One tour guide commented that she had never had a group of students as nice and respectful as ours in her 25 years of giving tours. The students represented Morgan County with class and left with knowledge and exposure they might not otherwise have had in their lifetime.”
The Canada trip was the culminating year-end event after another season of awards and prestigious recognition for the MCHS Band’s musical talent and performance skills.
In October, the MCHS Marching Band won the Second Annual Berkmar Marching Invitational championship in Lilburn. MCHS earned the top ranking out of 17 high school bands, winning First Place for Drum Major, First Place for Drumline, First Place for Colorguard and First Place for Band in Class 4A. “This represented Morgan County’s first ever such award,” said Rowser back in November. “We had the highest score of the day with 94.6 to win the Grand Champion Award.”
According to Rowser, The Symphonic Band and Concert Band received Superior Rating in performance and sight-reading at the Georgia Music Educators Large Group Performance Evaluation. Individual band members also received special recognition during the band season. Reagan Maryce Reilly, who placed first place as a drum major, was also selected by Georgia Southern for its “Southern Leaders” leadership program. Ramon Zamudio, a trumpet player, was chosen for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. “This hard working kid has earned this!” said Rowser.
“The Morgan County Band program continues to flourish and provide a cultural art environment that has continues to breed success. In grades 6-12 the Morgan County Band program has over 375 students currently enrolled,” said Rowser.
As the school year draws to a close, Rowser and the MCHS band are grateful for the opportunity to take this group trip to Canada together.
“Morgan County Band is home safe, sound and back with their loved ones. We truly enjoyed this phenomenal international experience, eh!” said Rowser.