On April 12, the Aurora High School Wind Ensemble performed at the MSHSAA State Large Ensemble Festival at Nixa High School. The band’s participation in this festival included both a stage performance and a sight-reading session, in which the group earned an Exemplary rating from all four judges. This is the highest possible rating an ensemble can achieve at the state level.

Dr. John Zastoupil of MSU, Dr. Brad Snow of MSU and Mr. Joe Pappas of Jefferson College (retired) and well-known Missouri band composer judged the fifteen-minute stage performance. For this segment, the band performed two prepared pieces: “In This Broad Earth” by Steven Bryant and “English Folk Song Suite” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Following the stage performance, the band transitioned to the sight-reading room where the students and director had six minutes to prepare a piece of music none of them had studied before, then immediately perform it for judge Chuck Appleton, retired Warrensburg band director. During the preparation time, the students could not make any sounds on their instruments, and during the performance, the director was not allowed to give any audible or verbal instruction. The goal of the sight-reading session is to have as accurate and musical performance as possible given the short preparation time. This process demonstrates an ensemble’s fundamental music skills, which are essential to being successful performers.

The Aurora High School Wind Ensemble is under the direction of Erin Smith.