Junior high band get top scores at competition


(Jesus Perez)

The Italy Junior High Varsity Band made it two in a row last week as they earned top scores at the UIL Concert & Sight Reading Competition for Middle School last week in Waco.

Erica Miller, assistant band director, said, “This is the second year in a row the band has received straight ones – a superior rating – from all of the judges at the competition.”

The 48-member band performed Wedgewood March by Owens, Nottingham Castle by Daehn and Serengeti Dreams by Smith.

The concert judges remarked about the bands “centered and focused pitches” and their “great style.” Another judge remarked about the students “attention to musical nuance, dynamic markings and exceptional balance.” They also commented on the holding of notes their full value as well. Another judge said, “Some fine teaching and learning going on at Italy Middle School, a well-rehearsed ensemble in every way.”

During the sight reading portion of the competition, Miller said they perform a piece of music especially written for sight-reading. The students have never seen the music and the director has three minutes to look at the score prior to giving any instruction to the band. The director then has four minutes to give a general explanation of the music. She said a director cannot sing or count any of the melodic lines or rhythms during that time. The music cannot be clapped or reproduced in any way. A three minute summative period follows before the band performs the music for the first and only time.

The sight reading judges praised the band for their overall sound, tempo and start. Another judge said he saw “intense concentration going on during the explanation.”

Miller said, “I am so happy for our students. They work all year for this competition. It is very heartwarming to see their faces after they hear that they have been successful at competition.”

She said 30 middle school bands performed at the contest.

Lee Joffre, junior high and high school principal, said, “These students have worked hard all year to show they are among the best bands in the state. After Friday’s performance they have shown they are ready to be a part of the varsity band next year and help the high school band get to state competition.” He continued, “Mrs. Miller is a great teacher and motivator. The kids respect her and work hard for her. In addition, Mr. Perez is a tremendous leader for the bands. He has done a great job of building a strong program for Italy ISD. I am very proud of our musicians.”

The Italy High School varsity band, under the direction of Jesus Perez, also received top scores at the concert and sight reading competition last month.

Miller concluded, “Our students are phenomenal. I am glad that their hard work has paid off.”