KINGMAN - The accolades over the past year for Kingman High School's band program are impressive.
That's not bad for a program that saw its share of difficulties this year because of class scheduling conflicts and students who graduated, leaving big holes that needed to be filled by younger, less-experienced musicians.
"It's been a rough year and we had a lot of issues, but we got through it and did pretty well," said KHS Band Director Michael Schreiber. "The kids are doing great. Last year we lost 30 seniors from the marching band, and my jazz band's entire saxophone section and half the rhythm section graduated. The saxophone section had been together at least two years and was very strong."
There are 56 students in the combined KHS Wind Ensemble and Concert Band, 18 in the KHS Jazz Band and 60 in the KHS Marching Band.
Despite the changes, the KHS Wind Ensemble received a superior rating, first place and first place overall band at the California Music in the Parks competition in Valencia, Calif. Also, the group has been asked to attend the Los Angeles International Music Festival in June, one of only seven high school bands in the nation to be invited.
The Wind Ensemble also received an excellent rating in Gilbert at the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association High School Area Concert Festival in March, qualifying it for state for the third year in a row. The group will be competing May 1 at the ABODA High School State Concert Festival in Chandler for the first time in 15 years.
And the Wind Ensemble has been invited to the Washington, D.C. International Music Festival at the Kennedy Center in 2015.
Also, the KHS Marching Band received an excellent rating at the ABODA High School State Marching Festival Division III in November, finishing 11th in the state. Only the top 10 winners qualify to move on to the national level.
Aliceza Payton, 18, a senior at KHS who plays baritone and flute in the wind ensemble and trombone in the jazz band, said performing in public has helped her feel more comfortable and accomplished. Payton will be a server at the upcoming annual Jazz Dinner fundraiser this year.
"We get out there and do what we do, and when it's great, it shows off all the work we've done," said Payton. "Even if we didn't get awards, I'd be happy because of what we've learned and done. I don't mind all the practice because band is my life."