Members of two local bands in Westmoreland County played their way to the hearts of judges in Lancaster last week. With bragging rights and honors within reach at the area music competition, local students swept the competition.
On March 7 at Lancaster Middle School, three bands from Montross Middle and Washington & Lee High School received superior honors from the 2013 Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula Area Band competition. This also includes 18 middle school and seven high school students being awarded to the area honor band.
“I was ecstatic and very pleased,” said band director Rob Wright, at Montross Middle School. “We have some very hard working kids and we’re very happy their hard work paid off. They made some amazing music.”
Each band was required to play three songs, one of which they do not see until the day of the competition. They have seven minutes to study it before playing it.
“We train the students to sight read, part of what we do is teach them to read music and become independent musicians,” Wright said. “They’re just doing what they’ve been taught to do.”
In the past few years, the Wrights have had the students practice and perform in area parades and competitions.
Along with his wife, Kelly Wright, who is the director of the high school group reaching this point in the bands’ success has not been simple.
“It was not easy, but we’ve had great administration support for what we’ve been doing…and we’ve seen it grow in baby steps from year-to-year,” Wright said. “We want to continue growing and keep making awesome music.”
The area band has been in existence for at least 35 years, according to Lancaster High School band director Robert Spiers.
Each honor band will rehearse under the direction of guest clinicians on March 22 and 23 at Mathews High School. They will play four to five songs each for the concert beginning at 2 p.m on March 23.
The following middle school students were named to the junior high honor band Carlee Slater, Alexia Lambert, Angelic Johnson, Leziee Lindsey, Chi Clayton, Emily Morgan, Matthew Squires, Natalie Kellam, Jessica-Anne Smith, Emily McGinness, Emma Ondovcik, Lenora Leake, Jared Jones, Ali Sydnor, Jared Nalls, Nicky Fones, Tommy Gunn, Ethan MacNamara, Nathan Worrell and Nicky Fones; high school honor band includes the following from Washington & Lee High: Brandie Garner, Micah Melton, Erin Doerr, Melissa Johnson, Rachel Pegelow, Katie Allen, and Jennifer Willoughby.