2014-03-19 / People

AHS Band, Choirs Headed To State

Three AHS choral groups and the concert band will head to state competition, after each received superior ratings in recent competitions.

Kent Vandock, director of choral activities at Archbold High School, said it marks the eighth consecutive year that choirs from Archbold have qualified for state.

The men’s chorus, the women’s chorus, and the chorale, made up of both males and females, performed for competition at AHS, Friday, March 14.

Beth Voll, AHS band director, said it has been two years since the concert band has gone to state.

The band performed at the Large Group Adjudicated Event, Saturday, March 15, at Sylvania Southview.

Format

The competition format for band and choir is similar. Each group is required to perform three pieces of music– one from a required list– that they practiced and prepared before the event.

The groups face a panel of three judges, or adjudicators, who evaluate their performances and assign ratings, one through five. The ratings are expressed in Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V).

After performing the prepared pieces, each group moves on to sight-reading.

There are differences between the band and choir competitions in sight-reading; basically, the students play or sing a piece of music they have never seen before, before a single adjudicator.

Voll said after doing the three prepared pieces, “we then went to a sight-reading room, where only the band students and band director were allowed.

“We were given a piece of music we’ve never seen before. We had four minutes to study the music. The students could talk to each other, but I could not talk with them.

“Then we had another four minutes where I could talk with the students about the piece. We sang and fingered (pressing the appropriate keys on their instruments without actually playing them) through the piece.

“Upon completion of the four minutes, we then performed the piece for the first and last time, and the adjudicator awarded us a rating on how we performed throughout the entire sightreading process and final performance.”

Choirs

After the choirs perform the three prepared songs, they, too, go into sight-reading.

Vandock said, “In sightreading, the performing ensembles get four minutes to look at the music without singing a pitch. Then they perform the piece with piano accompaniment.

“We then get one minute to review our performance. Following that, the piece is performed again a cappella

(without musical instrument accompaniment).

In the case of both the band and choirs, the four adjudicators, three for the “floor performance” and the one for sight-reading, each issue their ratings.

If the combined rating totals less than six, the group qualifies for state competition.

Pleased

Vandock and Voll said they were pleased with their group performances, especially in light of the days of school missed due to weather.

Voll said the band performed the three pieces “the best we have ever played them.

“Keep in mind all the calamity days of school that we’ve missed during our prep in the past few months, and just this past week, we missed two days of school, and on the days we did have school, the band did not have any sophomores.”

The sophomores were out, taking Ohio Graduation Tests.

“So Friday, we had one fi- nal rehearsal with the entire band– the first and last time in a full week together– before our adjudication on Saturday.”

Vandock said he was “quite pleased with the sound of my ensembles.

“The students have worked very hard in the past few weeks to make up lost instructional time.

“The secret to their success is very simple. We had extra rehearsals in the morning, and made judicious use of what classroom time we had.

“With 17 days lost to weather, and the birth of my son on Feb. 27, which caused me to miss several days of school, the students had to cope with changes on a daily basis.

“Each ensemble performed their pieces with great technical accuracy. They worked hard and successfully achieved a high level of musical nuance and phrase shape during their performances.

“I am nothing short of elated at their success, and very proud to be the director of these fine choral ensembles.”

State competition is in early May.–David Pugh

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