Dexter student musicians will once again perform at the State Band and Orchestra Festival this summer, following a strong showing at the district-level festival earlier this month.
The district festival was held March 16 at Chelsea High School, but due to last week's , Dexter students were unable to attend. Representatives from the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association traveled to on Thursday, however, to listen to the students perform.
"It's not technically a competition," Kenneth Moore, DHS marching band director said. "All groups have to play three prepared selections, followed by a performance of a work that is sight read. A panel of judges provides feedback on the teaching and learning that is taking place and offers suggestions for improvement."
Ensembles are rated on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest rating possible. Ensembles that earn an overall "1" (superior) qualify for the state festival in May.
Seven bands from Dexter participated in the district festival, all of which received superior ratings from the judges. Bands included: the high school symphonic band, concert band, varsity band, chamber orchestra, and concert orchestra; as well as the Mill Creek seventh and eighth grade bands.
"Our student musicians play at a very high level, the result of a great deal of individual practice and parent support," Moore said. "We are fortunate to have some wonderful music teachers in Dexter as well — band, orchestra, and choir — and the students are receiving excellent instruction."
The results of the district festival cap a year of success for band members. The Dreadnaught Marching Band received a superior rating at the Marching Band Festival in October 2011. The DHS band program received the Award of Excellence from the American School Band Directors Association earlier this year. Two high school band students and four Mill Creek band students were selected to perform with the Michigan All State Band in January.
"I am very blessed to get to work with the outstanding young people that participate in the band program," Moore said. "They are among the finest young people in our community. The students and I share a mutual respect and admiration, which helps us create some wonderful music. I believe in them. Even more important than their musicianship, I want them to graduate and become leading citizens and great parents."
Moore said the students' accomplishment Thursday shows that Dexter can overcome adversity during tragedy.
"The way the Dexter community has come together after last week's storm is nothing short of amazing. We are all so glad there was no loss of life, and now everybody is pitching in to help each other," Moore said. "I think this week's performances were part of the healing process. I'm proud of the students for playing so incredibly well in the face of adversity."