With their school's colors in the background, the Liberty Middle School Symphonic Band performs in concert. (CONTRIBUTED)
With their school's colors in the background, the Liberty Middle School Symphonic Band performs in concert. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Liberty Symphonic Bands rates superior at state assessment

Published 9:04pm Monday, May 20, 2013

MADISON – Bands at Liberty Middle School performed marches, Americana tributes and overtures for a harmonious spring season.

“The students and I feel great about our accomplishments this year,” director Gwen Rakoff said. “It has been a year of changes.” With ninth-graders returning to high school, only seventh- and eighth-graders were in band.

“Our successes this year prove that Liberty band students will rise to any challenge and continue to perform and compete at the high level that our school and community expect,” Rakoff said. “It’s a great sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as relief, to walk off of a stage knowing the performance went well.”

All three Liberty bands — beginner, concert and symphonic — competed at the Alabama Music Performance Assessment in Decatur during March. Liberty Beginner Band played “Greenway March” by Ralph and Jack Hale, “Gentle River” by Rob Grice and “Queenwood Overture” by Anne McGinty. The only beginning ensemble at the assessment, Liberty rated ‘excellent.’

The concert band played “Regimental Honor” by John Moss and “In the Beautiful Twilight” by William Owens. They rated ‘excellent.’ “‘Engines of Resistance’ by Larry Clark was by far their most challenging piece. The kids enjoyed it because of its fast tempo and nontraditional percussion sounds,” Rakoff said.

Earning a superior rating, Liberty Symphonic Band performed “March of the Patriots” by Erik Morales and “Three Kentucky Sketches” by John O’Reilly. “‘In the Shining of the Stars” proved most difficult for “musical maturity required to play it,” Rakoff said. “Judges complimented them on beautiful tone quality and intonation.”

Concert and symphonic members enjoyed traveling to Dollywood for the nationally accredited Music in the Parks Festival with bands across the eastern seaboard. Liberty captured first place among concert bands, and symphonic took fourth place.

At the annual Solo and Ensemble Festival, Liberty musicians earned 86 superior ratings for solos and 18 superior ratings for ensembles. Liberty was the only band to perform with individual and ensemble features at the 15th anniversary celebration of Madison City Schools.

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