Judges praise James Clemens Bands in St. Louis, at state assessment

James Clemens High School Wind Ensemble and Concert Band took top honors at WorldStrides Heritage Performance in St. Louis and Alabama Bandmasters Association's Music Performance Assessment. (CONTRIBUTED)
James Clemens High School Wind Ensemble and Concert Band took top honors at WorldStrides Heritage Performance in St. Louis and Alabama Bandmasters Association’s Music Performance Assessment. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – In adjudications from their home state to Missouri, the James Clemens High School Band program has compiled impressive awards this concert season.

The musicians swept awards at the WorldStrides Heritage Performance in St. Louis, Mo. on April 24. The concert band with director Stuart Tankesley and wind ensemble with director Keith Anderson received gold ratings, the competition’s highest ranking.

James Clemens won the “Instrumental Sweepstakes Award” for entering two bands minimum and ranking closest to a perfect score, publicist Amy West said. In concert band, Bella Szmyd received the “Outstanding Soloist Award” for her piccolo solo.

The wind ensemble earned the “Adjudicators Award” that requires a minimum score of 92. “James Clemens’ average score from three judges was 95,” West said. Most impressively, the wind ensemble received the grand prize, “Outstanding Instrumental Award,” for the band with the highest score among all competitors.

“Even more rewarding than all their awards was the way students represented James Clemens … in exemplary fashion in behavior and demeanor throughout the entire trip,” Anderson said. “I kept thinking to myself, ‘How proud I am to be a Jet!'”

Stressing character and leadership, Anderson was pleased to see the group embody their motto, ‘Be the example,’ West said.

In other competition, James Clemens excelled at Alabama Bandmasters Association’s Music Performance Assessment (MPA). Concert band members received an overall superior rating.

Wind ensemble instrumentalists earned straight superior ratings. “Both bands performed a difficult program very well. I couldn’t be more proud of our students,” Anderson said.

“We plan to use these experiences and feedback to be an exemplary program on a national level,” Anderson said. “I truly believe we’re on the right path toward that goal.”

James Clemens Bands will present their spring concert on May 7 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Both bands will play selections from MPA and St. Louis performances. A special presentation, “Why an A Isn’t Enough,” will advocate continued support of music in schools.

For more information, call 256-289-0509 or visit jcjetsband.com.

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