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CHMS band finishes third in contest

Members of the Charles Henderson Middle School beginning and intermediate bands placed third in a competition in Atlanta on Saturday. This was the first time CHMS band director Amanda Ford entered a predominantly beginning band in competition and the effort put out by each member yielded great rewards.

"This was a very positive experience for us all," she said.

"The children handled themselves with pride and we had a good time on stage."

The band performed in the Music in the Parks competition hosted by Educational Programs Network.

The competition had 20 bands and 15 chorus groups from across the southeast.

CHMS performed in a high school auditorium in front of two judges who critiqued the quality, tone, rhythm and musical interpretation of the bands.

"We have now learned first hand how the process works and that is priceless," Ford said.

Unknown to the band, one of the band competition judges was Troy State University's John Long, who was Ford's college band director, who has been involved with this competition for 20 years.

"Of course it made me nervous," Ford said.

"Dr. Long is one of the most respected judges in the country."

Ford said Long is a good judge because he is quick to provide suggestions for improvement and is kind and encouraging.

"Students respond to that very well," she said.

Ford need not worry, however, because Long said he was impressed with the band. "They were just outstanding," Long said.

"It just amazed me that a band could play so well after just one year."

He also said their performance was a reflection of Ford's teaching.

"Nobody does it like Miss Ford," he said.

"She just knows how to put it together and get things done."

He said it was obvious the band had worked hard on their performance pieces.

Ford said she hopes to make the Atlanta trip an annual event for all beginning and intermediate band members.

She said the students learn from their judged performances and get to experience special activities outside of the classroom.

As part of the competition experience, the band members and chaperons also enjoyed a day at Six Flags over Georgia following their performance.