Band returns to annual district assessment

Caroline Tucker

bleh

HHS Wind Ensemble students prepare to perform “Italian Rhapsody” by Julie Girioux at Hermitage High School . Photo by Jordan Clark.

Who spends weeks and weeks
preparing and staying late after
school for an assessment? Band
students, that’s who. All of
their hard work was in preparation
for March 17 and 18 when Wind Ensemble
and Concert Band went to District
Assessment.
Every year band students rise to get
judges on their abilities as a band.
This year, Concert Band and
Wind Ensemble traveled to
Hermitage High School to partake in
the annual festivities. Concert band
performed on March 18 and Wind
Ensemble left on March 17. Both
bands received a rating of Superior,
the highest possible at the event.
This year was the first year that
both ensembles received this rating
since 2013. HHS was also one of the
only schools to receive a Superior
for both groups, accompanied by
Glen Allen High School and Deep
Run High School
“Wind Ensemble had to play a march
piece called ‘Basses on a Rampage’
which is arranged by Andrew
Glover,” junior Keegan Lege said.
“Then we had a three movement piece
named ‘Prelude, Siciliano and
Rondo’ by John P. Paynter. The last
song we play is ‘Italian Rhapsody’ by
Julie Giroux. We get graded on all
of them by the judges.” There are two
grading scales within the district
assessment band students go through.
First there is the grading scale on
how difficult the music is that
they are playing. Six in the highest
possible, meaning the piece the
students are playing is the hardest.
Then there is the actual scale which
judges the player’s abilities. The
scale goes from four to one, one being
the highest, or Superior, and four
being the lowest.
“After we finish playing all of
our set pieces, we have to move all
of our equipment off of the stage
and go into another room where
we have to sight read. We get all of
the music for the first time and only
have a few minutes to look it over.
After the time is up, we have to play
the piece all together. We get grad-
ed on all of that,” Lege said.
Wind Ensemble and Concert
Band had many different dress
rehearsals to prepare. Additionally,
concert band had morning practices
before school to prepare. On
February 29, they played in front of
two professionals to improve their
songs. On February 25, Wind
Ensemble traveled to the UVA campus
to have UVA’s band director
critique their playing for three hours.

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