Bands prepare for festival next week, no pre-festival concert

Cairo and Grady County will play host once again to the Georgia Music Educators Association Second District Band Festival next week.
The event kicks off at 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday and runs through 1 p.m. Friday with a total of 37 middle and high school bands scheduled to perform.
Over the last several years the Cairo High School bands have performed a pre-festival concert and while it typically would have been held this Sunday, Bandmaster John Scanling announced this week that there will not be a pre-festival concert.
“Last year, both bands earned all superior ratings on Thursday of Concert Festival, but both bands had a better performance on Sunday afternoon. For the first public performance, the kids are a healthy amount of nervous, they are focused and they are excited to perform for a packed auditorium. We would rather that happen in front of the judges on Thursday, than on Sunday afternoon,” Scanling wrote to band parents this week.
Director Scanling also noted that the late Joe A. David III, beloved CHS band director, never held pre-festival concerts for those reasons.
Another change to those who regularly attend band festival, scores will not be posted on a tally board after they are announced to the individual band directors and their bands. According to Scanling, the GMEA has discouraged public posting of Concert Festival results for years.
“Our district was hosting the only Concert Festival in Georgia that still posted scores,” Scanling stated. At the district’s fall meeting, Scanling reports, that the directors voted to no longer post scores during the event.
“Much like a student taking a math test, bands can publicize their results as they see fit. Of course, Cairo’s scores will be made public as soon as they are made available,” Scanling said.
“We encourage the community to come out and support all of our student musicians. They have all worked extremely hard preparing for festival and I hope you will come to hear our local bands perform,” Scanling said.
The Whigham 7th and 8th Grade Band, under the direction of Brad Moore, will open the festival at 9:30 a.m. next Wednesday. The band will be performing Meadowlawn March, On the Colorado Trail, and Dance Celebration.
The Shiver 7th and 8th Grade Band will be the next local band to perform. Shiver’s band, under the baton of Amy Amaro, will perform at 10:30 a.m. next Wednesday. The band’s festival selections include Twin Cities March, Andromeda Overture, and African Marching Song.
At 1 p.m. next Wednesday, the Washington Middle School Band, under the direction of Patrick Ballew, will take the stage. The WMS Band will perform March for Patriot Day, Colliding Visions, and Alpha Squadron.
The Cairo High School Concert Band, directed by Adam Swan, will perform on Thursday at 1 p.m. The CHS Concert Band’s festival selections include Fidelity March, As Tears Fall on Dawns New Light, and Ghost Fleet.
The Cairo High School Symphony Band will be the final local band to perform. The CHS Symphony Band, under the baton of John Scanling, will perform His Honor, Prelude Siciliano and Rondo, and God of Our Fathers in the festival competition.
Judges for the festival include Wally Shaw, Rudy Gilbert, Matt Koperniak, and Joshua Boyd.
In addition to the band’s concert selection, the bands will be judged on their ability to sight-read.

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