Strike Up the Band: Union Pines Wins Big in Chicago
The Union Pines High Band brought home several awards recently in the Festivals of Music competition in Chicago.
The Union Pines High Wind Ensemble received a superior rating and took first place in their division, playing the highest graded level of music.
In the music world, grade level VI is the highest level music, and in many aspects the most difficult music to be performed by high school bands.
"Much of the music on the grade VI contest list is performed frequently at many universities, and those who attempt to perform this type of music are serious and all-around talented musicians," says band director Rob Hill.
In addition to their top rating, the Wind Ensemble took top honors for highest overall score of the competition and was awarded the prestigious William D. Revelli Concert Band Award, which is an award of distinction.
The Symphonic Band and Concert Band also placed respectively with excellent ratings. They took first and third place in their divisions.
"The process to perform at these levels is rigorous," says Hill. "The bands spend a large amount of time in the classroom preparing until the day of performance where they are evaluated on stage by a panel of judges. In order to receive a superior rating, the performance on stage should basically sound like a group of professional musicians recording a CD. All the aspects of professional musicianship are the qualities that are expected during performance. If a band plays well, they prove that they have learned the many musical concepts it takes to perform, and possess the knowledge and understanding of what it is to be great musicians."
According to Hill, a very small percentage of the bands throughout the state that compete receive superior ratings.
"Our groups are impressive," he says. "They are extremely talented and perform well because they have a tremendous sense of pride in what they do, and their expectation is to give outstanding performances all of the time. They feel they owe it to their audience, and I do as well."
In recent years, all three Union Pines Bands -- the Concert Band (primarily freshman), the Symphonic Band (primarily sophomores), and the Wind Ensemble (primarily juniors and seniors) -- have competed in North Carolina, New York City, Orlando, and most recently in Chicago, and have consistently received superior and excellent ratings. They have taken first place in many of the events with additional awards for outstanding soloists.
As a result of these recognitions, the Union Pines High Band is regarded as one of the top bands in the Southeastern District and in the state of North Carolina. Also, many of the Union Pines Band students audition for and make the All-County Band, the All-District Band, the All-State Band, and Governor's School.
The Union Pines bands can be seen frequently at many events in Moore County, including the Fourth of July parade in Carthage, the Carthage and Southern Pines holiday parades, the Carthage Veterans Memorial Service, the Carthage Buggy Festival, and many other town events.
The Marching Vikings are already in the process of starting next year's marching show, "Spies," a high-energy and "mysterious" show.
"We look forward to another successful year and invite all to come out and see the Marching Vikings in action at all home football games and competitions, to include the 17th Annual Viking Classic marching band competition that is hosted by the Marching Vikings at Union Pines High School," Hill says
Next year's Viking Classic will be held Saturday, Oct. 24. Last year, the Marching Vikings took two grand championships in competition.
The Union Pines Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble will perform free for the public at a "Pops" concert Tuesday, May 19, at Union Pines High School.
The performance will be in the auditorium at 7 p.m.
All bands will be performing music from the movies and TV shows.
Anyone may support the Union Pines Band by giving a donation in honor of a student, or the band program as a whole.
"It takes a large amount of funds to run such a large and strong program," says Hill, "so any and all support is greatly appreciated." Anyone interested in supporting the band may contact Hill at Union Pines High School.
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