The 2021 GMEA Conference featured virtual performances by the KENNESAW MOUNTAIN HS Wind Symphony, and Percussion Ensemble in virtual performance. The groups also performed works by student composition winners Ryan Alford and Will Collins for music educators and industry professionals across the southeast.
The Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) is a statewide organization that advocates for music education and teachers across Georgia. As the country’s fourth largest music association, GMEA recognizes exemplary musicianship annually. This past month, GMEA honored the following band ensembles and students from Kennesaw Mountain High School: Wind Symphony, Percussion Ensemble, Student Composition Competition Winners, Ryan Alford and William Collins. All ensembles and composers received an invitation to perform at the annual state in-service conference. During 2020-2021, Kennesaw Mountain was one of nine band programs (middle, high, and post-secondary) from across Georgia recognized with this honor. Student composers were winners of the annual composition competition and had their original works featured on a composer’s recital. The Kennesaw Mountain Band community is incredibly proud of over one hundred students included in these performances.
The circumstances of the school year and a virtual conference, created multiple challenges when creating a production. With no full ensemble rehearsals, eighty percent of rehearsal time on Zoom, and severely restricted in person safety protocols, Kennesaw Mountain’s band sought unique opportunities to showcase students for these large-scale performances. Utilizing everything from individual tracks to compiled SATB groupings, small ensembles to Zoom, students demonstrated their flexibility and professionalism when creating this concert. The Kennesaw Mountain Wind Symphony performed a program entitled Where Are We Going? And What Are We Doing? which explored the six degrees of separation between composers J.S. Bach and John Cage. The Percussion Ensemble performed AniMusic which synchronized students’ performances with animated movies and images. Jazz a la Anime by Ryan Alford and I’m Leaving by William Collins were highlights of the composition event. At the conclusion of GMEA’s conference, Kennesaw Mountain’s performances received highly acclaimed praise from across the state. The quality of virtual productions is a result of hundreds of hours of collaboration and planning between band directors and students.
Founded in 2000, Kennesaw Mountain High School Bands have established a reputation for artistic excellence and innovation over the past two decades. Kennesaw Mountain’s band program serves over 200 students in three concert ensembles (Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, and Concert Band), an award-winning Marching Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, chamber ensembles, pit orchestra, and colorguard. Performing at multiple concerts, festivals, and competitions each year, the band curriculum focuses on musicianship, fundamental instrumental skills, and leadership. Presenting performances at national and statewide events, Kennesaw Mountain’s concert ensembles have performed at the Midwest Clinic, GMEA Inservice Conference, JanFest at the University of Georgia, and the Music for All Southeastern Regional Concert Festival. The Marching Band is a three-time AAA National Champion competing at the Bands of America Grand National Championships and appeared in the seventy-ninth Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Kennesaw Mountain Band program is led by Director of Bands, Michael Huebner, Associate Director of Bands, Corey Futrell, and Percussion Director, Richard Dietrich.
If you would like to view these performances, please visit https://www.kmbo.org/gmea-performances.
Chris Ferrell, Supervisor
Performing Arts – Instrumental Music
Contributing Authors: Michael Huebner, Director of Bands-Kennesaw Mountain High School