CCHS band earns first superior rating in 18 years

Published 5:47 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Chilton County High School band earned a superior rating for the first time in 18 years during the state music performance assessment on March 3.

According to CCHS band director Matt Martindale, the assessment is the most competitive and highest performance that a band can take part in within the state of Alabama.

It was only the third rating of its kind in school history. The previous two times were in 1998 and 1999 under Jim Swindle as the band director.

“It was the best feeling to know that the Class of 2017 had a hand in that accomplishment,” senior BreighAnna Alford said. “It’s a big deal.”

Martindale has been with the program for four years and has seen the progress from those members who were freshman when he first started and are now seniors.

“It was hard at first with a new band director [2013-2014 school year], but all the hard work paid off in the end,” senior Kyle Jones said. “I don’t think any of us thought that we’d be where we’re at right now.”

As part of the performance, the band was required to play three pieces, as well as sight reading, which involved being given seven minutes to learn a piece of music before presenting it in front of a judge.

“I knew that we had a very good chance of doing it,” Martindale said. “When we walked off the stage, I felt that we had done a good job, but I knew for sure that we had locked it up after the sight reading.”

The event was held at the Moody Concert Hall at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with about 50 schools taking part.

“You work extensively for months on end,” Martindale said. “You’ve nitpicked the music to the point that they know it so well and are prepared to do what needs to be done.”

Jemison High School also represented Chilton County at the assessment and received a superior rating for their performance.

“It’s a big relief to know that they [senior class] were able to accomplish that,” Martindale said. “It gives them that memory and it allows the younger kids to have a tradition to keep building for years to come.”