PCHS percussion ensemble performs at N.C. Music Educators Conference

Published 4:07 pm Friday, November 27, 2009

Polk County High Schools award-winning percussion ensemble was invited to play at the North Carolina Music Educators Association (NCMEA) In-Service Conference.

The 12 student percussionists, under the direction of Director of Bands Cindy Gilbert and Ensemble Director Norman Moore played a varied program for the group of music educators on Tuesday, November 10, at the NCMEA Conference in Winston-Salem, N.C.

This is one of the greatest honors for a musical performance group in North Carolina, says Gilbert. She adds that the process started with filling out an application and making a CD to send in to the committee for selection of groups for the conference.

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Gilbert says that after the ensemble was invited to play at the conference, the students then had to work up an entirely different concert from the audition program.

Not only have they worked up a performance of percussion ensemble music for the conference this semester, they also produced a marching band show that took first place in class and percussion, as well as playing for most of the ball games. These students have been very busy and very productive, she says.

Gilbert adds that these students made all of North Carolina recognize Polk County as a place with very talented and hard working young people as well as a dedicated and supportive administration.

Polk County will be talked about for several reasons by music educators around the state and one of the topics will be administration and support. Mr. Miller and Mr. Greene attended the program in Winston-Salem and were complimented greatly on how surprised everyone was by their support and attendance, she says. However, most music educators that know the Polk County program will tell you we have supportive administration here in Polk County and it can be seen by the opportunities they allow and how they support our children.

It was good for the students to hear other directors talk about them being at the concert and how great they thought it was that our administrators came, Gilbert says. Our students learned just how blessed they are to be in the Polk County School System. This was a great opportunity for our students, schools system, administration and community as a whole to be put in the spotlight. Like the China trip, this trip will be one that I will never forget.

After the Polk County Cadets Marching Band received a $25,000 Unrestricted Grant from the Polk County Community Foundation in 2004, the Band replaced and purchased new percussion equipment. With the money from this grant and the support of administration and community the percussion ensemble was formed.

Since its formation in 2004, the percussion ensemble has continued to grow in membership, quality musicianship and performances.

Percussion ensemble members are John Morgan Owens, Rebekah Cavil, Clayton Carey, Erica Painter, James Durham, Grace Farrell, Donna Every, Kari Malkki, Hunter Patterson, Ben Stockdale, Spencer Taunton and Austin Knott.

The concert band and the percussion ensemble will hold a Christmas Concert to benefit Thermal Belt Outreach and children in the care of DSS. The Polk County High School concert band and percussion ensemble will perform a Christmas Concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17 in the high schools auditorium.

A small admission fee will be collected for Thermal Belt Outreach. All proceeds raised during the evening will benefit TBO. The band is also sponsoring a toy drive in conjunction with its holiday concert, attendees are asked to bring unwrapped toys to be donated to children in the care of the Department of Social Services.

For more information, contact Gilbert at 828-894-2525.