Superior scores for three area band programs

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Cullman High School Symphonic Band during their March assessment (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala.Three local high school band programs are celebrating this week after earning superior ratings from the Alabama Music Educators Association’s Music Performance Assessment. Traditionally, high school concert and symphonic bands would travel to perform live in front of the judges. This year, bands sent in videos of their performances.  

The highest rating a band can receive is “superior (1) by scoring between 90-100. This year Cullman High School’s Symphonic Band, The Good Hope High School Band and the Hanceville High School Band each earned superior ratings.  

For Cullman High School’s Symphonic Band, the streak continues as this is the 28th year in a row the band has scored all ones. Cullman City Schools Director of Bands Christopher Smith said upon learning this year’s scores, “We are very proud of our students for their success at MPA this year. Especially with all of the complications brought on by the pandemic. Many aspects of our preparation for this event were altered by COVID. Due to the hybrid schedule for the school, we had fewer rehearsals to prepare our groups. Because of social distancing guidelines, the band had to rehearse and perform in a way that we had never attempted before. This changed how we practiced and how we developed and balanced our ensemble sound.” 

Smith continued, “All of this and the other restrictions made this year’s MPA very challenging. For our Symphonic Band to still receive superior ratings at MPA is an amazing achievement for these students. Our Concert Band was also very successful at MPA this year. It shows that when you set goals and work through problems together, you can accomplish anything.”  

The Cullman High School Concert Band, directed by Doug Teuscher, received all “excellent ratings from the judges. To receive an excellent (2), the band must achieve a score between 80-89.9.   

The Cullman High School Band Concert, which will feature the Symphonic, Concert and Jazz bands is Thursday, May 13, at 7 p.m. in the Cullman High School auditorium.  

Good Hope High School scored all superior scores for the second year in a row. Good Hope Band Director Zac Tyree announced the Good Hope band’s scores on Facebook adding, “I am so proud of this group of these students. Two years in a row receiving all superiors for Alabama State Music Performance Assessment!! This has been a very challenging year and these students have not backed down. They worked extremely hard to achieve success and should feel proud of their hard work!! Our band did not get weaker during the pandemic, they worked harder to become a stronger band program!! It’s great to be a Raider!!”  

The Good Hope Band will perform their Spring concert on May 16 at 2 p.m. in the Good Hope High School gym.  

Hanceville High School Band scored all ones and band director Jesse James said of his band,Proud is definitely an understatement for this group of students. I am so incredibly proud of not just their musicianship, but their perseverance. Throughout all of the struggles and trials we have all faced this past year, these students set their goals high and strove to achieve them at whatever cost was imaginable. They are so dedicated to their craft and each other that it is such a joy to be around them and listen to the incredible sounds they make! Through this process, they not only became better musicians, but better people. I am extremely blessed to be able to stand in front of this wonderful group and learn music together.”  

The Hanceville High School Band Spring concert will be May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Hanceville High School gym.  

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com