PHS_Bands2017_2On Friday, April 21st, the Plymouth Band program competed in the Indiana State School Music Association’s annual concert band competition. The event brings concert ensembles to host sites to perform for evaluation by a panel of state-selected judges. Three judges score the performance in nine different areas of musical expectations. Additionally, each ensemble must also compete in the sight-reading portion of the event in which every band is given music they have never seen and the students are expected to perform it on the spot with no rehearsal. Their performance of the selected sight-reading music is also evaluated as part of the overall scoring.

The band has spent many months preparing difficult music for this event. Plymouth Band Director Bryan Ames states that there are very high expectations in the Plymouth band. “The band has only earned Gold Award ratings for nearly two decades. There is a very high expectation at Plymouth to be successful at this event. We spend plan in advance and spend many weeks preparing the performance.” That preparation truly was rewarded this year as the band program set new personal records for itself at the event. “Our Symphonic Band is made up of our younger members and they have impressed me with how much they have grown as musicians this year. They went a division higher this year and still managed to pull of two perfect scores and the third score was within a point of perfect. The kids simply amazed me with what they accomplished. It was a very musical and well executed performance.” In the sight-reading division the Symphonic Band also scored very high. “The band was within a point of achieving a perfect score on a piece of music that we had never seen before the judge handed it to us. My proudest moment of the night was hearing those kids do so well at sight-reading.”

PHS_Bands2017_1The Wind Ensemble at Plymouth High School is made up of only the top musicians in the band. “Plymouth does a true Wind Ensemble set up in that we only have one kid on each part. It is a small ensemble of only the top players. In an environment like this, you simply have to achieve great things as there is nobody to back you up. You are completely alone on your part within the ensemble.” The Wind Ensemble competed in the Group 1 division which is the hardest level of competition. The Plymouth Band was the only band at this site which entered in Group 1. “Our students gave a great performance of some incredibly difficult music. I was extremely proud of this group as they made the choice to compete at this level and committed themselves to doing something this difficult.”

Both bands earned solid gold ratings from every judge and several perfect scores earning both of the bands an additional “With Distinction Award” which is only given to the bands who earn scores which are close to flawless.

Congratulations to all of the students in the Plymouth Band programs on an outstanding year!