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Eastsides Band soars high at festival
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This past Friday and Saturday the Eastside High School Concert and Symphonic bands performed at the Georgia Music Educators Association's District 4 Large Group Performance Evaluation event held at Tucker High School.
District 4 consists of all of the schools in DeKalb, Rockdale, Newton, Jasper, Morgan and Butts counties. Both bands from Eastside received superior ratings, the highest honor at the event.

Each band performed three prepared selections for a panel of three judges. The band begins to practice for the event at the beginning of the school year. After the band performs their beginning numbers, they then move into another room and sight-read.

During the sight reading, the band only has a short time to look over the piece silently, and the director is only allowed to make a few opening remarks before the band has to begin playing for a fourth judge.

The band is then scored based on state-mandated score sheets. The bands are judged based on tone, intonation, technique, balance, musicality and other factors. There are a total of 59 boxes on the four score sheets where the judges make a rating of A, B, C, D, E and then the scores are averaged and equated to a superior (I), excellent (II), good (III), fair (IV), and poor (V).

Of the 59 marks on the score sheets, the Eastside Symphonic Band received only four Bs. The Concert Band received only three Bs. Therefore each band received superior ratings.

"These scores were phenomenal," band director Alan Fowler said. "It's even more impressive considering that our Concert Band was faced with the challenge of being split this year into two classes making the blending of the brass and woodwinds all the more difficult, and all of our band classes were faced with less than 60 percent of the class time to which they had become accustomed too," he continued.

This is the thirteenth year that Eastside has sent two bands to the festival, but the first time that the Concert Band earned straight superiors. Only Eastside High School and Lakeside High School sent multiple bands and returned with more than one band earning Straight Superiors.

"To have a distinguished panel of judges rank our bands among the best around is an amazing accomplishment," Fowler continued. "Considering all the challenges we face, some of which schools in the other five counties do not face, our results are tremendous."