Manistee Area Public Schools bands receive top scores at MSBOA festival

The  Manistee Area  High School  Symphonic Band brass section puts out a big sound at Thursday's MSBOA festival.

The Manistee Area High School Symphonic Band brass section puts out a big sound at Thursday’s MSBOA festival.

MANISTEE — Perfect.

That is the best way to describe the trifecta the Manistee Area Public Schools pulled off on Thursday in the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association District No. 1 competition for a nine-county area was held at Manistee High School.

The MAPS seventh, eighth and high school bands all received  “I” scores and almost all As  in their ratings from the judges.

What summed everything up for the MAPS program on the day was the remarks the adjudicator of the sight reading gave to the high school band following the performance of its number.

“I always enjoy listening to this group and you have a great band program here,” she said. “What I like to see is the looks on your faces as you are playing the piece, because you aren’t just playing the notes — you are playing the music.”

MAPS director of Bands Cynthia Swan Eagan was thrilled with the performance of her students.

“It was a good day,” she said. “I was real pleased with how things went and our facility here at the middle/high school is built in such a way that while all of this is going on our other kids can be in their classrooms with 14 different schools here and nobody even notices it.”

Besides the three Manistee bands there were bands from McBain Junior High, Shelby Middle School, Leroy Pine River, Hesperia, Big Rapids Crossroads Academy High School, Baldwin High School, White Cloud High School Wind Symphony, Manton High School, McBain High School, Leroy Pine River High School and Shelby Symphonic Wind Ensemble.

The Manistee 33-member strong seventh grade band started the day off early for the local groups. All the groups performed three numbers in the auditorium and then went to the band room for a sight reading session. In the sight reading session they were given five-minutes to learn a  piece of music they had never performed before.

During their auditorium performance the band played “Mt. Vernon March” (by John Edmondson), “Medallion Overture” (by Himes) and “Prologue and Rustic Dance” (by Jared Spears).

Later Swan-Eagan returned to the podium with the 34-member eighth grade band. The band played “Aces of the Air” (by Karl L. King), “Heartland Overture” (by Himes) and “Ritual and Celebration” (by John Moss).

The highlight of the day for the many Manistee Area Public Schools band followers came in the afternoon when the 79-piece strong Manistee High School Symphonic Band took to the stage. The MAPS symphonic band was the largest group in the festival.

The band performed  “The Gallant Marines” (by Karl L. King), “Aztec Theme and Dance” (by Del Borgo) and “American Riversongs” (by Pierre LaPlante).

Swan Eagan thanked the many volunteers who contributed their time to make the the day-long event possible.

“The kids and adults who volunteered make the festival run so smoothly and they really take over, so none of us have to worry about,” she said.

Swan Eagan said this evaluation is really a testament to what is going on in the classroom. The students are essentially being tested on the things that they have learned all year.

“It’s pretty much our form of standardized testing,” she said.

Today eight more schools will be making the trip to Manistee High School in the second day of the festival. Those bands will be coming from the Frankfort, Lake City, Walkerville, White Cloud, Hart, Lake City and New Era Christian school districts.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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