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Discovery bands carry legacy of excellence at state assessment

Discovery Wind Ensemble was rated superior for the 14th consecutive year at the Alabama Music Performance Assessment.

All four judges gave “superior” ratings in all seven categories, earning Discovery Middle School “superior with distinction” ranking, director of bands Johnny Nash said. Only three bands earned this rating during that day’s assessments.

The Discovery Concert Band received an overall rating of superior. Judges score in categories of tone, intonation, technique, rhythm, balance, musicianship and general effect/factors in relationship to stage performance and sight-reading, Nash said.

For their program, the Discovery Concert Band played Steve Hodges’ “Centennial March,” a classic concert march with percussion and clarinet features. “The piece ends with a traditional roll-off and dynamic augmentation to a stirring conclusion,” Nash said.

Similar to an Irish Gigue, “Dunbar Way” by Carl Strommen depicts a stroll down an Irish lane. The ensemble also played “Pueblo — Land of Ancient Peoples” by John Higgins, a tribute to the Southwest and Pueblo Indians.

The Discovery Wind Ensemble played the traditional “Gallant Marines” by Karl King. “Windjammer” by Robert Buckley was inspired by a tall-mast ship’s voyage. Matt Day, Ben Winters and Jacob Justice were trumpet soloists. “The music reflects tumultuous seas and then fades as the trumpets echo the last refrain,” Nash said.

Completing its water theme, Discovery’s final piece, “By The Rivers of Babylon” by Ed Huckeby, “described a river’s many facets,” Nash said. Featured soloists were Michelle Bono, flute; Leah Hong, clarinet; Matt Day, trumpet; and Jessi Wright, bassoon.

Discovery musicians “raised their performance level and dealt with pressure of performing for judges on the state level … and the rush and excitement of performance,” Nash said. “They grew immensely as an ensemble.”

“Our students were thrilled to continue the legacy of the Discovery Band program,” Nash said. Discovery Wind Ensemble will compete in the National Adjudicators Invitational Festival in Chattanooga in April and Orlando’s Festival Disney in May.

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