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Micheal Holmes ABA President     

Mike Holmes                       

The Process: We're Not Done Yet

AMEA Conference 2016 was a huge success. President Carl Hancock and the AMEA Governing Board earned “STRAIGHT ONES”! The Boston Brass proved themselves to be worth the effort it took to get them to the conference. They are both world-class musicians and world-class human beings. When the weather began to affect planned performances, the Boston Brass stepped in with an encore performance that was just what we needed to cheer us up a bit after we received the sad news that the Oak Mountain bands had to turn the buses around and go back home. We can certainly understand the disappointment that was felt by the students, parents, and conductors of this fine band program. Our hope is that they will be in a position to perform for us in 2017. Dr. Ken Ozello, Professor Randall Coleman, and composer Tyler Grant also stepped up to the podium when Brian Balmages was thwarted by Mother Nature and could not make it to Alabama. These musicians presented a great Reading Band session on his behalf. Thanks! And through the magic of technology, Brian, at least a digital version of Brian, was with us as well.

ABA was well represented at the conference through concerts and clinic sessions. The Randolph School Middle School Percussion Ensemble and the University of North Alabama Percussion Group entertained with quality literature and execution. Grissom High School Symphonic Band II (Theo Vernon conductor), James Clemens High School Symphonic Band (Keith Anderson conductor), and The University of Alabama Wind Ensemble (Dr. Kenneth Ozello conductor), presented performances that will be remembered for many years to come. We definitely have quality band programs in our state. Will your band be the next to perform at the AMEA Conference? The due date to apply will be here soon. We need more applicants. We want you to make our job of choosing performing ensembles and clinics even more difficult than it was this year. So start making plans to apply.

Nope, not done yet. Music Performance Assessment is quickly approaching. Take a deep breath. This is an important event for our association. Your ABA Board members have taken great care to secure adjudicators that are to provide you and your students with a constructive, positive, and honest assessment of your band’s performance at MPA. Accept the outcome with an open mind. There will be information there that can help your band make improvements and achieve musical growth. Then Sight-Reading. Take another deep breath. This is no big deal. Many of you sight-read every day in band rehearsal. Every time you play a new line out of your Method book, Chorale book, or Rhythms studies book, your students are Sight-Reading. Don’t abandon daily fundamentals to work on the “contest” music. Those fundamentals are what it takes to get your band to where you want it to be. Once many years past, Phi Beta Mu Hall of Fame member Larry Deagan told me “Concerts and contests are a necessity, but they sure do interfere with teaching”. So, keep teaching.

Still not done yet. All-State Band district level auditions have been completed. I am looking forward to being in Mobile once again. It is a beautiful area for our All-State Festival. I am certainly excited to witness the performances of our state’s fine soloists as they perform on the campus of the University of South Alabama in the All-State Solo Festival Finals Concert on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. This event never disappoints. So don’t miss it. We have contracted four of the finest conductors in our profession to work with the best band students in the country, our students, and this is going to be an awesome All-State Band Festival. You don’t want to miss it.

I don’t think we will ever be done. Still to go: honor bands, scholarship auditions, recruiting, spring concerts, trip performances, drill writing, music arranging, drum major tryouts, visual ensemble auditions, new uniforms to order, fundraisers, faculty meetings (my personal favorite), ABA Summer Conference, marching band camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AND DON’T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN!!

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