Hard work is paying off for The Pride of Antlers Bearcat Band

 The Pride of Antlers Bearcat Band with Band Directors Ron Potter and assistant Kristy Potter at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant after receiving Superior ratings in both stage and sight reading.
Story and photo by Vickie Leathers
Staff Writer

The band spent the past week making two trips to Durant to the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University to participate in district contests. One was for the full band and one was for solos and ensembles for those students who elected to put in additional work for this optional performance.

In District Concert Band, the state is divided into 14 districts. Antlers’ District Contest was held in Durant on Wednesday, February 26 while the solo and ensemble districts was held Saturday, February 29.

For the band, District and State Contests have two components: concert and sight reading. For the concert portion, each band plays two selections, one of which must come from a prescribed music list, in front of a panel of judges who consider the following criteria: tone quality, intonation, rhythm, balance and blend, technique, interpretation, musicianship, musical effect, articulation, and other performance factors.

Sight reading refers to playing a new piece of music at sight, having never played or rehearsed it before. The sight-reading portion consists of two subsections: preparation and performance. For the preparation period, judges consider the director’s explanation, student involvement, and rhythmic and melodic approach. During this part, the band gets eight minutes to study a brand-new piece of music they’ve never seen before. A band can use the eight minutes to study, count, sing, and do fingerings, but no playing is allowed. For the performance, judges consider all of the same factors as during the concert portion, but also consider flexibility, attention to melodic and harmonic lines, and error recovery.

Bands must earn Superior Ratings at District in both stage and sight reading to advance to State. The Pride of Antlers once again received Superior ratings on stage and sight reading and will travel to Ada (possibly March 31) for the State Competition. They have a lot to live up to since they received the Sweepstakes Awards the last two years.

Additionally, 33 students went Saturday for solos and ensembles. These performances are optional and additional music these band students have worked on during their own time.

Receiving Superior ratings in the junior high level were Payton Wolfe – solo on the marimba and the flute duet of Einslee Stephenson and Landri Mickel. Although they received superior ratings, they are unable to advance to state as only HS solos and ensembles may advance.

Solos receiving Superior ratings included Allanna Aguero on the marimba and Matthew Darst on the Timpani. Soloist Ryan Taylor on the snare, soloist Dillon Bodine on the Timpani, soloist Trenton Vannoy on the snare and soloist Kaitlin Wilson on the marimba all received excellent ratings.

For ensembles, there were several superior ratings. The Antlers Percussion Ensemble consisting of Dillon Bodine, Macy Porter, Matthew Darst, Allanna Aguero, Trenton Vannoy, Akiera Butler, Kailtin Wilson, Ryan Taylor, Madeline Sorrells, Alex Reaves, Conner Underwood, Carter Underwood, Payton Wolfe and Austin Sorrells received a superior and will be advancing to state.

The Alexander Trio of Aline Alexander, Einslee Stephenson, and Payton Taylor (mixed woodwinds); the Clark-Sorrells Trio of Gracie Clark, Madison Sorrells and Kynlea Sorrels (mixed woodwinds); the Hedgecock Trio of Michelle Hedgecock, Brancen Redman and Ryan Sorrells (saxophones); the Garcia Quintet of Esme Garcia, Hollie Hunt, Kynlea Sorrells and Payton Taylor (clarinets); the Canon Trio of Abby Canon Seth Hill and Dominic Peterson (trombones) and the Stone Trio of Tamra Stone, Austin Bodine and Dalton Wolfe (trumpets) all received Superior ratings and will advance to state.

State solos and ensembles will be held in Stillwater on April 22.

Antlers Band Director Ron Potter is pleased with his band this year.

“Kids have been working hard,” he said, “and I am extremely proud of them. I am looking forward to competing at the next level.”

Congratulations to the Bearcat Band and good luck at state competitions in Ada and Stillwater in the next few months.