Band Earns Top Ratings at Assessment for 5th year in a Row


Every year, different ensembles of our music department go to state assessment, where they receive a rating on a scale of 1-5; 1 being the best, and 5 being the worst. Schools can earn or maintain their honor band status every time they bring home a “superior” rating. On March 1st and 2nd, band achieved a “superior” rating for the 5th year in a row, making Tuscarora a 5-year honor band.

1 – Superior

2 – Excellent

3 – Good

4 – Fair

5 – Poor

State assessment consists of playing 3 prepared pieces and one piece that is given to the band to sight-read. Band students started practicing their music in January, and even performed their assessment music in a “pre-assessment” concert, where mock judges even gave the band feedback. While the extensive preparation for assessment may sound exhausting to some, senior Jack Turner says, “I love playing music and even though we may be practicing the same pieces over and over again, it’s good to know I’m always getting better.” As for the sight reading portion, the band has seven minutes to examine a piece of music that they’ve never seen before. Students can use those seven minutes to study the music however they want, the only rule is that they can’t play their instrument. After the seven minutes are over, the band plays the piece and it is assessed. Sophomore Tala Rouse says it can be “somewhat scary (sight reading music) because we only have one shot to play it.”

Now that assessment is over, band is already preparing for their next performance for the spring concert.  Band director Ms. Newmiller says that “it feels good to start working on new music” now that assessment is out of the way. Ms. Newmiller says that what makes the spring concert unique is that the band “features seniors by having them pick songs or giving them solos.” “We don’t have a to plan a specific program,” “we can just play what we want,” she said. Band will have their spring concert on May 14 to mark their final performance of the school year.