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Festival to offer evaluation for bands

March 13, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Local schools' concert bands will perform Saturday in Palmer Performing Arts Center here in the Southern California Schools Band and Orchestra Association's Band Festival.

The festival will include bands from the elementary through high school levels.

Bands are given 30 minutes to perform three prepared concert selections, and one piece which is sight read, for judges from the SCSBOA.

Judges critique the bands both orally and with written comments and rate the bands based on the state's standards for music. The five levels of ratings start at "poor" and progress to "superior."

"It's the only chance we have to be judged by people from outside the Valley," said Amy Dailey, Brawley Union High School band director, adding the schools do not compete against each other.

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"It's a self-evaluation," Dailey said.

Her 47-member band will be participating at the festival for the first time in a few years. The BUHS band will be competing for comments only and will not receive a rating from the judges.

"I have a young band. Two-thirds are freshmen," Dailey said, adding she wants her band to have the festival experience without the pressure of a rating.

Calexico High School Band Director Dennis Pond has high hopes for his 70-member team.

"I have the best situation in the Imperial Valley," Pond said, commenting on the "strong programs" for band in Calexico's junior high schools.

"The kids come in very well trained. Everyone has outstanding individuals, but because of the feeder programs we have, I have more kids with more expertise than other programs," Pond said.

Because of the feeder program in Calexico, Pond said he has a high standard for his band members. He said his band will be playing at a higher level than it is required to play.

"They are going to be playing an ambitious program," he said.

George Scott has two bands from Kennedy Middle School playing in the festival. It will be the second year for the Kennedy concert band, which consists of seventh- and eighth-graders, and the first year for the intermediate band, made up of sixth-graders.

"I expect great things from both bands," Scott said.

Although his band has not had much experience, the concert band received a rating of "excellent" last year.

"I have high hopes for this year," Scott said.

He thinks the festival is a "valuable tool for the education process," comparing it to a standardized test in an academic field.

"It is our only opportunity in this format to be measured by an objective evaluation," he said, adding it helps directors to know what to work on for the next year.

The festival is considered a qualifying festival. The bands that receive a rating of superior are invited to a regional festival later in the year.

The Band Festival is free and will start at 8 a.m. Saturday in Palmer. The public is welcome to attend.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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