The George Mason High School Concert and Symphonic Bands scored some firsts at the District X Festival held last Friday.
The Concert Band appeared for the first time at the district-level competition, and the Symphonic Band, which requires student auditions to join the ensemble, earned a “Superior” rating – the highest distinction possible – for performing musical pieces of the hardest grade, Grade VI.
The district fesival was held at South County Secondary in Lorton, Va. The festival drew bands from 11 area schools, including bands from much larger high schools J.E.B. Stuart and Lee.
Both bands performed three musical pieces (one warm-up and two graded selections) along with an impromptu sight-reading of music.
For its competition selections, the Symphonic Band performed Grade VI pieces “Celebrations” by John Zdechlik and “Persistence” by Richard Saucedo. Concert band pieces were Grade III pieces “Cimarron Trail” by David Schaffer and “Knights of Dunvegan” by Richard Meyer. (Video of the Symphonic Band’s performance of “Persistence” is available on Youtube.com.)
“The Symphonic Band took on the most challenging pieces of music they have ever had,” said Mason Band Director Mary Jo Webster. “This is the same music professionals and college-level bands perform, and the kids got the highest scores they’ve ever received.”
This is the Mason Symphonic Band’s ninth year performing at the district festival, and its first earning a Superior rating for Grade VI music.
The bands had lost rehearsal time before the district event due to February’s major snowstorms disrupting George Mason’s schedule. “Missing a couple of practice rehearsals due to snow days made it a climb up a hill, but the kids hit it out of the ballpark with their successes,” Webster said.
The Concert and Symphonic Bands will be joining the Jazz Ensemble and Chorus this Wednesday on a trip to Florida for the Disney Music Festival held March 12 – 13.