CMS sends eight to All State Band

The Covington News - - The second front - JOY BRATCHER Staff Writer

Ev­ery year, top per­form­ing mid­dle and high school in­stru­men­tal­ists in Ge­or­gia have the chance to per­form in front of two to four judges in a blind au­di­tion for a chance to play in the Ge­or­gia All State Band.

Cousins Mid­dle School had eight stu­dents earn a place in the Ge­or­gia band, two be­ing al­ter­nates. Cousins is one of three schools in the state to send more than two stu­dents to the pro­gram.

The stu­dents are Ni­cholas An­der­son, Ti­mothy Birt, Katie Beth Fowler, John Har­den, Ken­neth Har­ris, Hezekiah Rodgers, Reid Wa­ters and Wal­ter James Wil­son.

The stu­dents be­gan prac­tic­ing spe­cific etudes (a scale that is spe­cific to each in­stru­ment that is more rig­or­ous than the av­er­age scale) in Au­gust. They were also re­quired to prac­tice daily to de­velop a high level of tech­nique and skills for the au­di­tions.

“Stu­dents be­gin pre­par­ing for this au­di­tion the minute they pick up an in­stru­ment,” Cousins band di­rec­tor Chris­tine Krae­mer said.

Stu­dents cho­sen had to be part of their school’s band pro­gram or take pri­vate lessons if they were home schooled. Ap­prox­i­mately 8,000 stu­dents be­gan the au­di­tion process in Au­gust and pre­pared by prac­tic­ing four ma­jor scales, which in­cluded a chro­matic scale and an etude.

The first set of au­di­tions took place the first Satur­day in De­cem­ber in 13 dif­fer­ent dis­tricts across Ge­or­gia where con­tes­tants were judged on their ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“One of the main goals of the au­di­tion is to first iden­tify the high­est level of per­form­ing stu­dents in each dis­trict,” Krae­mer con­tin­ued. “These stu­dents are then in­vited to be a part of the dis­trict honor band.”

Af­ter the stu­dents per­formed the scales, they then per­formed a sight read­ing se­lec­tion at their au­di­tions. Stu­dents only had 30 sec­onds to look over a piece of mu­sic they had never seen be­fore. Then, they had to play the right notes, rhythms and all mu­sic sym­bols on the page as per­fectly as pos­si­ble. Stu­dents who re­ceived high scores are rec­om­mended to au­di­tion for the Ge­or­gia All State Band.

Au­di­tions for the Ge­or­gia All State Band were in Jan­uary at Perry Mid­dle School. Stu­dents from Cousins, Lib­erty and In­dian Creek mid­dle schools were among the 900 se­lected to try out. An­der­son, Birt, Fowler, Har­den, Har­ris, Rodgers, Wa­ters, and Wil­son were cho­sen to rep­re­sent Cousins in the final 200 stu­dents.

Mem­bers of the band at­tended re­hearsals in Sa­van­nah over a three-day pe­riod end­ing with the main con­cert ear­lier this month.

“The stu­dents had the op­por­tu­nity to work with some of the lead­ing con­duc­tors, com­posers and ed­u­ca­tors in the na­tion,” Krae­mer said. “They had the chance to meet other stu­dents from many dif­fer­ent schools who worked just as hard as they had.”

She also said stu­dents played a once-in-a-life­time per­for­mance for an au­di­ence of thou­sands in a mu­sic hall that is one of Ge­or­gia’s state of the art fa­cil­i­ties.

“I hope these stu­dents know how proud I am of them,” Krae­mer said. “Not only am I proud of them, but their teach­ers, par­ents and the cit­i­zens of this com­mu­nity are proud of them as well. All of us have rec­og­nized their hard work, and they need to know how much re­spect they have earned from those who mat­ter.”

Cho­rus stu­dents Courtney Holmer and Jas­mine Mcelory made it to All State Cho­rus this year as well to par­tic­i­pate amongst the top singers in Ge­or­gia. The Cousins Mid­dle School Cho­rus as a whole also re­ceived straight su­pe­ri­ors (high­est honor in the com­pe­ti­tion) at the Large Group Per­for­mance Eval­u­a­tion last week.

Cousins Mid­dle School was one of three schools in the state to send more than two stu­dents to All State Band.

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