Success at Assesments

Orchestra and Band receive top marks yet again

Ben Johnson, Reporter

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Superior. To appropriately describe the performance of Langley’s orchestras and band this previous weeks in their respective competitions the word that best describes them is superior. The Orchestra competed at the District Assessment at James Madison High School. They qualified for an 8th consecutive Blue Ribbon for Musical Excellence. The band performed at the 2017 Concert Band Assessment held at West Potomac High School.

“Assessment is where we try to get Superior ratings- or a score of “1” from three judges listening to our pieces and one sight-reading judge (where we learn a piece on the spot and perform it to the best of our abilities). The judges are pretty strict- you have to have a very strong program with few mistakes to be considered for a Superior,” said Orchestra musician and Langley junior Brooke Baird.

For orchestra’s Assessment, the event the Philharmonic Orchestra earned a unanimous “Superior” at the highest level of competition (Grade 6 level) and qualified for an 8th consecutive Blue Ribbon for Musical Excellence. “I am enormously proud of the students for an outstanding effort this year” said Director McCormick. “All top eligible performing groups must receive a final Superior rating at VMEA District Concert Performance Assessment,” according to the Virginia Music Educators Association in order to receive a blue ribbon.

The blue ribbon is a highly prestigious award that the Saxons have been fortunate enough to win eight consecutive. They must impress all four judges therefore it is an honor to receive this. “Being Blue Ribbon status makes the entire arts program extremely proud because it displays the school’s devotion to the performing arts,” said Band saxophone player and Langley junior Ben Goodson.

However, these successes do not come easily. Many hours are spent practicing and memorizing for the assessments and concerts. In top orchestra, they have rehearsals every day during 3rd period. Along with the in school practice, students are expected to practice outside of school. “I am planning to go into music as a career, but I practice 3-4 hours a day, 6 days a week,” said Brook Baird.

As for the band, in their Concert Band Assessment their Wind Ensemble received an overall rating of “Excellent” and our Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony both received the highest rating from all the judges. This marks the sixth the consecutive year that the Langley Wind Symphony has performed the most advanced class of music available.

“Receiving a Superior rating is no small task. It takes hours and hours of individual commitment. When we achieved a Superior rating this year at the assessment, everyone was ecstatic. At the end we were all exhausted by extremely proud of everyone in the band,” said Ben Goodson.

“Music allows people to express themselves in ways nothing can compare to. Sincere there are so many variations of music, classical to jazz to rock, the possibilities are endless. For me, jazz is my personal escape. I can pick up my saxophone and just play, if I’m happy, sad, or stressed. I can express whatever I want through my horn in a safe environment where everyone appreciated what everyone has to offer,” said Goodson.

“If you want to hear some of what the fuss is about. I’m very happy to share the videos with you. I think you’ll be amazed,” said Band Director Doug Martin.

*Story written in late April

**Provided are YouTube videos of the Langley band performing at the Assessments. This includes the song that awarded Band their Superior rating.