Ranger band hitting all the right notes

Published 9:17 am Thursday, May 5, 2016

Opportunity has knocked on its door on multiple occasions since the New Year, and the Ranger bands have answered.

Moving on from a successful fall marching season and a well-received winter holiday concert, the in-class ensembles from Cassopolis immediately started working towards their next series of challenges.

February presented the senior high band the privilege to perform at District Solo and Ensemble festival. Students who volunteer to perform at Solo and Ensemble must choose acceptable repertoire of a specific length and then perform in front of an adjudicator.

Of the multiple events Cassopolis sent to Southwestern Michigan College, students Eric Bosler and Jacqueline Kelley-Cogdell both scored Division I ratings. A Division I (also known as a “superior”) is the highest rating available and when earned at District Solo and Ensemble, a student has the option to attend the more rigorous State Solo and Ensemble.

“We are very proud of both Eric and Jacqueline for qualifying to perform at the State level,” Cassopolis band director Sean Keck said.

Shortly after the conclusion of District Solo and Ensemble, the senior and junior high bands traveled to the 2016 District VI MSBOA Concert Band Festival.

Not unlike solo and ensemble, the ensemble is subjected to critique from three judges of varying musical background, is evaluated, and is given a rating of one through five.

“The senior high band was given an incredibly difficult musical program and earned a Division III rating,” Keck said. “On the same day, the junior high band also performed three songs and delivered an outstanding performance worthy of a Division II rating.”

Furthermore, the junior high band excelled in the sight-reading portion of their evaluation, and scored a superior Division I rating in sight-reading.

“I want to say that I am very excited for how we’ll perform next year as we continue to improve our skills and grow the program,” Keck said.

Only a couple weeks later and during some of the nicer weather of March, the Southwest Michigan Honors Band assembled at Andrews University.

“We had the pleasure of nominating six of our eight-grade band members to join over 140 other students in a one-day, multi-sequence rehearsal chain that ended with a spectacular performance under the direction of Robert H. Ambrose,” Keck said. “The hand-picked students from Cassopolis included Andrew Rininger (Percussion), Brett Williams (Alto Saxophone), Megan Evans (Clarinet), Sarah Schneider (Trumpet), Gage Collins (Baritone), and Ally Burdett (Trumpet).

“In a continuation of bragging on our junior high band members, MSBOA also offered a solo and ensemble performance venue to seventh- and eighth-grade band students on April 16,” Keck said. “After sending five events including three solos and two duets to this competition, all of our students ‘medaled’ and received Division I or Division II ratings.”

The names and scores break down as follows:

• Johnathon Brooks, Division II

• Megan Evans, Division II

• Andrew Rininger, Division I

• Savannah McDougle, Division II

• Chase Scheunemann-Thomas, Division II

• Sarah Schneider, Division II

• Ally Burdett, Division, II

“This is an especially exciting achievement for these young professionals, as we hope to see them (and perhaps more of their classmates) at next year’s competition to represent our school,” Kech said. “We hope you’ve been enjoying our progress, and we look forward to seeing the community a bit more as we close out the school year.”

Cassopolis will host its spring area concert in the Ross Beatty Junior/Senior High School at 7 p.m. May 10.

This concert will feature all of the musical performing ensembles, including the choirs and fifth- and sixth-grade bands. The high school band will also be present for graduation and the annual Memorial Day parade.