Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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April 10, 2014

Band punches ticket to big show — Basketball’s big dance may be over but Pauls Valley High School’s band has punched its ticket to the big state contest for the fourth straight year.

That’s a big deal for the five dozen or so band members as their director, Drew Etheredge, says this represents a major accomplishment for a band program that in recent times is making it a habit of earning a trip to the big show.

“This is our fourth consecutive year to qualify for state,” Etheredge said. “At state that’s the best of the best in the state of Oklahoma.

“I’m encouraging anyone from Pauls Valley to come over to Ada and watch our concert at state.”

The big state concert contest for classes 2A to 4A with free admission included is set for Wednesday, April 23 on the East Central University campus in Ada.

Pauls Valley’s band is scheduled to hit the stage at 8:25 a.m. that morning.

“The kids really worked hard the whole year. That hard work is really paying off,” Etheredge said.

“They’ve earned this honor, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said. “They not only have worked hard but have represented Pauls Valley in a great way all year long.

“People think after football season it slows down for us. It’s really the complete opposite.

“Spring is an equally busy time for the band. We start preparing for spring contests right away after we get back from the Christmas break.”

Just over 60 band members earned the honor at last month’s district contest.

The band earned “straight” superior ratings from all three judges in the early March districts in Duncan. There they played two prepared pieces in concert, including a march.

It not only got top marks but earned praise from other band officials.

Another superior rating came for the band’s “sight reading” performance in front of a single judge.

“They pass out a sheet of music we’ve never seen before,” he said.

“They give us 7 minutes to talk about it, count through it. When the timer goes off we have to play. We have to play right then and that judge gives us a rating.

“It’s a true test of where the kids are at.”

As for those ratings, a band’s performance is scored anywhere from poor to good to superior.

As a band director, Etheredge sees that rating as the place a band should be working toward at all times.

“A superior rating means your performance was superior in all aspects,” he said. “You have to be extremely detailed and thorough in your preparation.

“If you reach that standard of performance you qualify for state. It’s a standard of performance that as a band director we constantly strive for with our students.”

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