Verbena High School band impresses

Published 8:27 pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

Superior sound: Verbena band captain Bailey Arant and the rest of the Red Devils Regiment performs at the Huntingdon College Invitational.

When most people think of high school marching bands, they think of halftime during football games.

That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marching bands.

In the spring of 2012, the Verbena Band Students traveled to Prattville Junior High School and participated in the annual Alabama Bandmaster’s Association Solo and Ensemble Competition. In order to participate in this event, students must spend multiple hours preparing difficult songs, and then perform these songs alone, in front of a judge.

Thirty-nine Verbena students learned solos on one instrument, six students prepared solos on two different instruments, and 11 students prepared ensemble pieces in addition to their solo pieces.

“For Verbena High School, this was an outstanding and very successful venture,” band director Randi Penton said in a release. “These 39 students performed 56 events and earned 41 medals.”

Verbena High School also has four students who auditioned for the Alabama All State Bands this past spring: Cheyanne Smith, Ethan Bishop, Mikayla Francis and Jarred Penton all earned favorable spots in Alabama’s District V Honor Bands. Francis also qualified for and participated in Alabama’s Middle School All-State Band clinics and concert, and Penton qualified for and participated in the Alabama’s Senior High All-State White Band.

“It may come as a surprise to some people that football season does not mark the end of instrumental music in our schools,” Randi Penton said. “All of the band programs in the county work year-round to further their crafts. “Beginning in the fall, while the marching bands are busily preparing halftime shows, some students are putting in extra hours to learn extremely difficult pieces of music, scales and rudiments in order to audition for the Alabama All-State Bands as well as other notable college honor bands throughout the winter and spring.”

Bands also work to prepare music for Christmas parades, Christmas concerts, the Alabama Bandmaster’s Music Performance Assessment, spring concerts and the annual Peach Parade.

Thousands of scholarship dollars are awarded to outstanding music students every year. Two Verbena graduates were recently awarded $23,000 in music scholarships.

“Parents and students need to understand that instrumental music can pay off for students who apply themselves both in band and schoolwork,” said Penton. “Music scholarships are offered to both music majors and non-music majors alike. Band doesn’t have to end once the students graduate.”