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Bob Jones concert band, drumline master music and demographics

The Bob Jones Indoor Drumline performs its 2013 show, "From the Ashes." (CONTRIBUTED)
The Bob Jones Indoor Drumline performs its 2013 show, “From the Ashes.” (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Director Leigh Thomas and the Bob Jones High School Concert Band and Indoor Drumline adjusted to changing demography and confidently met competition rigor this year.

The drumline earned a gold medal at the Southeastern Color Guard Circuit (SCGC) Championships at Belmont University in Nashville. “From the Ashes” featured “Danse Macabre” by Saint-Seans, “Come Sweet Death” by Bach and “Symphony no. 2 Finale” by Mahler.

Thomas said “Come Sweet Death” was the most difficult. “At the end of this classic Bach chorale, we sang in four-part harmony with no accompaniment.” Bach compositions require high-level harmonics, “a feat not easy for musicians trained in percussion.”

The drumline also entered the Winter Guard International Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

Also at SCGC, Bob Jones Winter Guard’s “Welcome to the Attic” earned silver after moving up one division this season. The guard won first place in Clarksville, Tenn. at an SCGC-affiliated contest.

“The biggest question mark these ensembles faced was adjusting to new staff and having freshman in the mix again,” Thomas said. The drumline and winter guard also performed to student assemblies, eighth-graders’ Patriot Expedition, Spring Arts Festival and Relay for Life.

Bob Jones Concert Band received superior ratings at the Alabama Music Performance Assessment in Decatur. Their music included “The Golden Vanity” by Vaughan Williams, “Blue and Green Music” by Hazo and “Awakening Hills” by Saucedo.

At the Spring Arts Festival, the band tackled its most daunting piece — “Decade” by Wong Kah Chun, a grade more difficult than state contest music. “I chose it to challenge the students to push toward the end of the year,” Thomas said. “It ended up being the ensemble’s favorite piece and worked well as a dramatic closure to our concert.”

Freshmen composed about half of the concert band.

“Freshmen brought a youthful, new attitude. Upperclassmen showed their abilities to lead,” Thomas said. “We’re looking forward to starting with a new group of freshman in the fall. Current freshman, sophomores and juniors will become leaders to these young students.”

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