Prince Edward County bands pass ‘exam’, earn superior grade

Published 9:23 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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Every school band in Virginia gets graded once a year. But unlike book tests that go over written concepts, this exam is done in concert form. Students perform their prepared music for judges and then get graded. The good news for the Prince Edward County bands is that this year’s groups passed with flying colors. 

Now when it comes to bands, they don’t get an A, B, C or D. They’re ranked I, II, III and IV, with I being a “Superior” grade. II is “Excellent”, III is “Good” and IV is “Fair”. According to the Virginia Band and Orchestra Directors Association, a “Superior” rating is described as “the finest conceivable performance for the event and class of participants being evaluated. These teams are worthy of the distinction of being recognized as among the very best.” 

And in this case, that describes Prince Edward’s middle and high school bands, both of which earned “Superior” ratings at their assessment concerts in March. The two groups performed for a set of judges at Lloyd C. Bird High in Chesterfield. 

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“I’m beyond proud of our students and their amazing accomplishments,” said Prince Edward High Principal Gwendolyn McQuaige-Hicks. “They have worked exceedingly hard, and it truly speaks volumes. Way to go Eagles!” 

Other district officials praised the hard work and dedication of both Prince Edward County bands, in earning their respective grades. The district itself sent out a statement applauding the effort, saying the achievement “not only reflects the exceptional musical abilities of our students but also underscores the invaluable support and guidance provided by our dedicated teachers!” 

Prince Edward Middle School Principal Shelly Clark-Reed summed it up, by pointing out that the grade puts the musicians at a high level. 

“Holding this distinction places this particular team among an elite group of student musicians,” Clark-Reed said. “Our instructors are to be commended for their leadership and ability to foster a love for music. I am so proud of our students and their hard work. Kudos on a job well done!”