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Local bands earn high praise from festival judges

This time of year finds students in Grady County and throughout the state preparing for standardized testing. Spring time also means test time in the band department.
Last week, Cairo High School hosted the annual band event called “Large Group Performance Evaluations” (LGPE), known for years as “Band Festival.” Each band from Grady County schools performed well and earned high marks.
Judges from the Georgia Music Educators Association’s list of adjudicators tested the musical education of students from Grady County and around southwest Georgia, assessing the quality of the bands on a statewide standard. Music performed must come from a state-approved list. A fourth judge evaluated how well the bands sight-read music that they have never seen before.
All three Cairo High bands captured the highest awards of straight superior ratings on stage and in the sight-reading room. The Cairo Concert Band performed a grade III program, the Symphonic Band played a grade IV program, and the Cairo Symphony Band garnered rave reviews from the judges with their V/VI program.    
The Washington 7th & 8th Grade Band earned a straight superior rating on the stage and a I in sight-reading.  
The Whigham School Band earned a I-I-I for a superior rating on stage and asked for comments only in sight-reading.  
Shiver School had two groups participate this year. The 6th Grade Band asked to receive comments only for their young musicians, and the 7th and 8th Grade Band earned a I-I-II for a superior on stage with a superior in sight reading.
The adjudicators were Ken Hudlow from Savannah serving as the head judge, Lou Cefus from Aiken, South Carolina, and Garry Taylor from Cullman, Alabama. Sight-reading was judged by Derik Clackum from Ranger, Georgia.   
All three Cairo bands received the highest accolades and glowing comments from the judging panel. Judge Garry Taylor said, “Congratulations on an outstanding program. So many great things going on in this program.” And Ken Hudlow was quoted saying, “Masterful teaching and dedicated learning. The Cairo tradition lives!”
A large crowd from south Georgia was in attendance to hear the Cairo High Symphony Band’s Tuesday evening performance. CHS Band Director Johnny Folsom said, “I told the students that they had really prepared well for one of the most challenging programs we had ever attempted. And, that, if we worked together, we had a chance to raise the performance bar to a new level.” Folsom also said, “I am extremely proud of these students.”

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