04/19/11 The Plymouth High School Band Department finished off the winter and spring competition season with a successful performance at the annual Indiana State School Music Association’s annual concert band competition. This event was the final competitive challenge this year ending another year of very successful performances.
In February, the band program had numerous students qualify for the the ISSMA Solo and Ensemble State Finals. This event, is a voluntary activity but is a required step in order for the program to qualify for the “All-Music Award” presented only to the top music schools in the state. Plymouth met the state requirement by having both solos and ensembles advance to the state finals competition.
In March, the winter color guard program completed their season with a performance at the Indiana High School Color Guard Association Divisional State Finals. After coming celebrating the band department’s first-ever state championship at this event last winter, the Plymouth guard voluntarily chose to move up into a harder level of competition this season. Even with the stiffer competition in Class 2A, the ensemble still was one of only a few schools to earn the Gold Division rating at the state event and Plymouth placed in the top ten schools out of forty schools at the state event. One week later, the winter drumline program advanced to the state finals in the Indiana Percussion Assocaition’s indoor drumline circuit. The group made their first marching class state appearance last winter with an eighth place finish at finals. This year, the group moved up in the rankings and placed fifth in the Class A State Finals.
Also in the month of March, the Pride of Plymouth Jazz Ensemble participated in the ISSMA Jazz Competition hosted at LaPorte High School. The group competed in the Stage Band division and received the top honor of a Gold Award rating at the event. This event also is a mandatory competition for the band program to qualify for the “All-Music Award.” The PHS Jazz Band will be performing at the upcoming spring Variety Show the first weekend in May.
This past Friday evening, the Plymouth combined Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble traveled to Concord High School for the ISSMA concert band competition. The band gave an outstanding performance at the event. “This was by far our best performance of the music we have been preparing,” said PHS band director Bryan Ames. “The students went beyond my expectations and simply gave an outstanding performance. I walked off the stage extremely proud of all of the band members. In fact, I felt extremely confident that we had earned our highest contest ratings in past few years.” After the performance on stage, the band then participated in the sight-reading competition. In this part of the event, the band is given music that they have never seen before and they are expected to perform the music at a high level with no practice time. “Basically, they give you music and you have to play it on the first try with few mistakes. It is very intimidating and challenging, but it is also very exciting to try something like that,” said Ames. “The students did an outstanding job in the sight-reading room and I was, again, extremely proud of them and their efforts.” The band earned gold ratings from every judge at the event. Three of the four judges gave the Plymouth Band near perfect scores. This was the final step towards earning the prestigious ISSMA “All-Music Award.” “This award is only given to the top bands in the state that earn Gold Awards at every ISSMA event during a school year. Only around twenty schools in the state earn this award annually and Plymouth is one of only a handful of schools in the entire state that has received this award on an annual basis,” said Ames.
The Pride of Plymouth’s outstanding performance at the ISSMA concert competition brought an end to another outstanding competitive year for the band program. Upcoming non-competitive events include the annual Cafe Jazz concert with numerous schools from Northern Indiana participating in the event. This event will feature jazz music combined with great food on the evening of Friday, May 13th. The band department will also be featured in the upcoming PHS Variety Show titled “Circus Bezerkus.” The annual variety show will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the PHS auditorium on May 6th and 7th.
The band will end the school year by representing the State of Indiana in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C. Bands from across the country will come together for a televised parade celebrating Memorial Day and our local and national veterans.
Congratulations to the Pride of Plymouth bands on another great year and much success with all of the competitive ensembles in the organization.