Payson High School student band members work every week on their marching and playing skills in preparation for various competitions and their trip to Hawaii, where they will perform at a special Pearl Harbor Day ceremony on Dec. 7.
The Payson High School Marching Band aced its first competition of the year, scoring “excellent” at the state marching festival at the Mountain Pointe High School Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Only two other bands in the state qualified with scores high enough for the honor of marching in the same festival.
“This is a fantastic start to their tournament season!” said Daria Mason, director of the high school band.
The PHS Marching Band competed against 11 other Division 3 bands, the category for bands with between 45 and 64 performers.
Although last year’s band won the music and visual performance award in its first competition, it didn’t qualify for the state tournament until the third week of October.
The PHS band chose music with a rhythmically complex African theme. The judges complimented the choice of music and choreography by awarding the band top scores in music performance and general effect.
“This is the best Payson band I have heard,” said Judge Jon Gomez.
Mason said the musicians this year have worked harder than any band in the past to master the challenging music.
For the two weeks prior to the competition, the band members organized small group sectionals and the color guard had extra practices.
The students supported each other with additional help getting props together and working in the field.
“I am most proud of them for pulling together as a team to accomplish their goal, for being flexible with last-minute changes and always believing they could do better. Saturday was an affirmation of their efforts as a team of incredible students,” said Mason.
Now that the band has qualified for the state marching band festival, it will work to continue to improve in the following areas at future competitions:
Musicianship — tuning/intonation, tone quality/control, balance/blend, expression/ dynamics, appropriateness of style.
Technique — accuracy, precision/timing/ tempo, uniformity of articulation, attacks/ releases.
Percussion ensemble — performance precision, tempo control, musical expression.
Repertoire effectiveness — creativity of musical program, pacing/continuity, integration of all elements, range of expression, effectiveness of staging.
Performance effectiveness — communication of roles, emotional range, performer intensity, projection of style, performer confidence.
Technique — uniformity of method, timing, posture, carriage, recovery from error.
Form control — accuracy, clarity, spacing/interval, alignment.
Auxiliary — equipment uniformity and staging.