GALLIPOLIS — Community members were awakened early Saturday by the celebratory voices of the Gallia Academy High School Madrigals and Symphonic Band members as they were escorted by the Gallipolis City Police Department through town following their triumphs at the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) South West Region State High School Adjudicated Event near Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Madrigals, Gallia Academy’s audition-only show choir, performing at class B, earned a Superior rating overall; receiving three Is (superior ratings) on the floor, and a II (excellent rating) in the sight-reading room. Their achievement marks the first time in school history that any choral group has earned an overall superior rating at state.
“Earning a superior rating at OMEA State Contest requires precision, focus and a high level of skill to execute every detail that the music has to offer. The Madrigals nailed them all,” said Madrigals Director Marilyn Wills. “The result was a superior rating and memories that will last a lifetime. I am very proud of their accomplishment and the work they have put forth to make it happen.The required piece for State was ‘Good News!’, an African-American spiritual. The piece offered many challenges including singing a capella, body percussion, a solo and key changes — just to name a few. Simply put, the song is hard. The risk we took in selecting such a difficult piece really paid off. The students worked very hard to achieve every detail of the music. The program that they performed was a great demonstration of what they can do musically, and they did it well.
“I really appreciate all of the parents, grandparents and friends who attended the OMEA state contest,” added Wills. “It was great to see so many familiar faces in the audience supporting the students and their tremendous effort. Also, a big thank you to everyone who has supported the vocal music program through all of the fundraising endeavors. Without their support, we would not be able to take advantage of such great opportunities.”
The Gallia Academy High School Symphonic Band, performing at class C, earned an Excellent rating (II) overall. The band, made up of 51 members, performed at the Lakota East High School Freshman Campus both on stage and in the sight-reading room.
For Gregory Benson, Symphonic Band director, this marks the first year he has taken a band to state contest.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them, they played exactly the way music should be made — from the heart. They should be incredibly proud of earning an Excellent rating at the state level, that’s quite an accomplishment,” said Benson. “They went after it, shared a part of themselves with the audience and earned every bit of applause they got. It was incredible, after the final note, I looked out and saw a band from another school give us a standing ovation. You know something beautiful has happened, that your performance has reached someone, when that happens.”
Members of the band participating in the OMEA event were:
Flute: Samantha Denbow (flute/piccolo), Andrea Houck, Allison McClure, Kelsey Purdum, Jemeia Hope, Ashley Fetter, Elizabeth Thompson, Shawna Stanley and Brittany Sheets.
Oboe: Becca Houck
Clarinet: Mackenzie Erwin, Katherine Simpson, Brianna Wachs, Kierstin Stanley, Sahvanna Chaffins, Emma Nesbitt, Erin Kinnaird and Chase Swain.
Bass clarinet: Cassie Orosz
Alto saxophone: Savannah Wheeler, Brad Ritchie, Jared Riffle, Blake Wilson and Whitney Clagg.
Tenor saxophone: T.J. Myers and Cody Harvey.
Baritone saxophone: Atticus Davies
Horn: Shelbie Davies and Bruce Moreaux.
Trumpet: Michael Moore, Hunter Arthur, Varna Thayaparan, Andrew Howes, Jamie Canfield, Tony Easton and Mac Corbi.
Trombone: Mykal Haner, Kim Faro and Fred Edelmann.
Percussion: Ashlee Saunders, Will Shriver, Logan Pratt, Madi Daniels, Bryce Saxon, Michael Vallee, Rylee Stevens, Angie Hunt and Samantha McCarty.
With the contest over, the groups are left to prepare for their upcoming concerts. Gallia Academy choirs will be performing at 7 p.m. on May 9, and the GAHS band performs at 7 p.m. May 16. Both groups will be performing at the Holzer Center for the Performing Arts.