Thomasville High School Symphonic and Marching Bands play hard as the stakes get higher and competitions arise.
Symphonic Band, directed by Joe Regina, consists of nearly 80 students that compete at the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) Festival in Cairo each year.
From when they return from winter break until the judged performance on March 9th, much practice and commitment is put into perfecting the performance. After school practice is held two times a week and during class. So much practice is needed due to how advanced the music selection is. This is especially true for children at such a young age because they are playing music that colleges like FSU would play at a concert.
Regina talks about the preparation leading up to competition.
“They seem to be excited about it; it's a challenge and is going to be a lot of hard work but we are making progress,” said Regina.
The music selection is one of the largest parts of pulling the performance together. The musical aspect of concert band involves the THS Symphonic Band improving over the years. They earned a Superior, or “one,” rating in 2016 on a 5-6 level rating which are the highest levels.
“In my first year here, we played a level 4 program and received two’s. So to go from that to a 5-6 program and get straight ones is a pretty significant improvement,” said Regina.
Festival can bring out many nerves in the students because of their “Superior” title to uphold.
“Having more experience and having been through it a few times, knowing what to expect and how to prepare for festival can make the experience less nerve-wracking for them,” said Regina.
Participation in band has doubled in the past five years, reaching back to having 40 students in 2012 when Regina started with Thomasville City Schools. The Thomasville High School concert band first began in 1963 with only 6 students and Thomasville’s is one of the oldest bands in the state of Georgia.
Marching Band consists of the same group of students but is a whole other world compared to the concert band. Marching band is very physical and focuses more on hyping up crowds at football games and pep rallies, and competing against other marching bands. THS has about one hundred students in their marching band including the majorettes and danceline. They began the year with their Stevie Wonder show.
“I think was one of the best sounding and best looking shows we have done,” said Regina.
2016 was one of the most successful years for Thomasville High School's marching band in a long time, which was exemplified by their accomplishments at the Battle on the Border competition held in Valdosta in October. There they received many awards including, best in class and also best in division which was over eight other bands from three different states, they earned superior ratings and best in class for percussion, majorettes, and dance line as well.
“We had a very good year and we plan on going back next year and defending our title,” said Regina.