The Arnall Middle School Band was presented with a 2015 Exemplary Performance Award by the Georgia Music Educator’s Association (GMEA) Monday night, recognizing the middle school band program with GMEA’s highest statewide honor.
GMEA grants the prestigious Exemplary Performance Award to only one middle school band each year, among roughly 500 middle school band programs in Georgia.
The award was presented by GMEA Sixth District Chairman Matthew Price, during the band’s Christmas Concert, held at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Monday, December 7. Price presented the award to Arnall Middle School band director Gena Wayne onstage at the Centre.
This marks the second time in 2015 that an Arnall music program was recognized with GMEA’s top award. In October, the Arnall Middle School Chorus – under the leadership of Arnall chorus director Robin White – also received GMEA’s Exemplary Performance Award, distinguishing it as the top 2015 middle school choral program in the state.
“That is not something that’s usually accomplished by schools,” said Arnall Middle School Principal Jan Franks. “Arnall is very proud of our choral and band programs. These accomplishments speak to the excellence of the programs at Arnall, the talent and hard work of the students and directors, and of the strong support of our parents.”
To be considered for a GMEA Exemplary Performance Award, schools must have a significant number of band students participate in all sanctioned Georgia Music Educators’ Association events, including District Honor Band, All-State Band, Large Group Performance Evaluation, and Solo and Ensemble. Schools must also score excellent and superior ratings for all adjudicated events.
The band program at Arnall Middle School, under Wayne’s direction, had a very successful 2014-2015 school year. The Arnall Band had twenty-five students audition for the District Honor Band and Georgia All-State Band. Seventeen Arnall students earned seats in District Honor Band, which performed in early February, and three students earned a seat in Georgia All-State Band and performed under the direction of composer Samuel Hazo.
Wayne annually takes two performing groups to perform and to be judged for Large Performance Evaluation, which is graded on the band’s ability to perform required music selections sanctioned by the GMEA. Both groups received superior ratings for stage performance and superior ratings for their ability to sight read a music the students had never seen before. Additional accomplishments for the band included students selected to participate at UGA’s Midfest in December, over twenty students who received superior ratings for solo and ensemble performances, and 8th grade student Allie Byrd, who received a $500 musical scholarship from the Tara Winds Scholarship Foundation.
“In my 12 years teaching at Arnall Middle School, I am amazed by the determination of our students to be the best musically in our county, district, and at the state level,” said Wayne. “Students in our band program are very committed. This award is a result of our students’ musical talent and their diligence to strive for excellence daily. I am so proud of their countless hours of practice and dedication to our program.”
“As the Arnall Middle School band director, I am thankful for the support of our administrators, colleagues, and a special thank you goes to our band parents for their continued support,” said Wayne. “We are very proud of the students who have earned this award. The band students are great examples of what makes Arnall “the best of the best,” as our principal, Dr. Jan Franks, quotes daily.”
Press Release from Coweta County Schools