Saturday, April 13th, Mt. Vernon’s Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble traveled to Pendleton Heights High School to perform at the Indiana State Student Music Association (ISSMA) contest. The bands had been working vigorously since December to perfect every detail of their selected music. Their hard work paid off in the end. Both bands earned a gold rating with distinction, an almost perfect score.
ISSMA hosted a Solo and Ensemble earlier this year February, but it is different from the ISSMA Contest that is hosted in April. Students participating in Solo and Ensemble prepare their choice of music and perform it in front of a judge, and they earn a score and are rated gold, silver, or bronze. However, only those who have the gusto to perform a group one piece move to state if they earn a gold. ISSMA contest is similar, but much bigger. Bands will prepare music from their group level and perform in front of a panel of 3 judges rather than one. The same grading scale is used here, only it is applied to a much larger group of students.
Group level is also an important thing to understand. Music is placed into a group, and that group determines its difficulty. Group one, being the highest, is music one would typically see in a college level band. Group five is the lowest, and middle school bands usually play selections from this group. The Wind Ensemble plays group one every year, and Symphonic Band, due to the fact that it is mostly composed of younger students, goes group 2.
Despite the difficulty level, both bands earned positive feedback from the judges earning gold with distinction.
“This work ethic paid off as both groups had some of the best scores in the state.” said Ms. Nason, the band’s new director. “I am excited to continue building from this point and will be finding new opportunities for these students that will help expand their musical experiences even further.”
Ms. Nason was an assistant band director before she took over at Mt. Vernon after Mr. Ellinger departed for Franklin last summer. She gained experience from working with the bands at Snider High School as Associate Director of Bands, and has even taken string orchestras to ISSMA contest.
“I have really enjoyed the process of getting both the Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble ready for the Indiana State School Music Association Organizational Contest,” said Miss Nason. “The band students at Mt. Vernon HS are some of the most hard-working, receptive students I have had the chance to work with.”
The MVHS Bands have seen a very successful season this past year. Catch them in action one last time May 18th-19th for their final concert, The Game’s Afoot.