By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – Technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It can be useful in in ways that make a person’s life easier but it can also take a person out of life and into a cyber-world of gaming, music, designing, etc.
Schools have reported a decline in extracurricular involvement by students and area schools are not exempt from this trend. Fortunately, some of the extracurricular activities are beginning to make a comeback of sorts as students learn to balance the real world and their cyber-worlds.
One area on the rise at Crockett High School is in band and the resurgence has resulted in some pretty impressive achievements.
Earlier this week, CHS Band Director Gary Fitch sat down with The Messenger to discuss some of the band’s accomplishments.
“We have had two competitions since the end of football season. In December, we do what is called All-Region tryouts. The band students go and compete against other kids from the Class 4A level and down. They take 100 kids in First Band and 100 kids in Second Band. It’s from here to Henderson or Carthage, south of I-20 down to Lufkin. We had eight Junior High kids and one High School student,” Fitch explained.
“Two weeks ago,” he continued, “in the first week of February, we did what was called Solo and Ensemble Contest. In Solo and Ensemble, not everybody plays the same thing. It’s not really a head-to-head competition like All-Region. If a student plays well enough, they get a certain rating. One is the best in the band world and we had 45 students at the Junior High make a one and we had nine students at the High School who made a one.”
Fitch explained there are different levels of music which can be played at the Solo and Ensemble competition. He said there was a Class III, which he described as easier, a Class II which is in the intermediate range and Class I which is college or professional level.
“We had five students play a Class I solo this year, but we had one who played a piece by memory and he received a one. When you play a Class I solo and you make a one, you qualify for state. His name is Ruben Sanchez. He played snare drum and the piece he played was called 2040’s Sorties.”
He said other kids played a Class I solo but because they didn’t play it from memory, they didn’t qualify for the state competition.
“Ruben met all the qualifications to go to state so at the end of May, he will get to go to Pflugerville to compete at State Solo and Ensemble where he’ll have a chance at another medal,” Fitch said.
There are 54 students in the High School band, of which 28 competed in Solo and Ensemble. At the Junior High level, the band director said there are 64 members of which over 50 participated in Solo and Ensemble.
Currently in his 10th year with CHS, Fitch said over the years, the band has grown in size and has reached the average size for schools like Crockett.
“Participation-wise,” he added, “the band has been pretty steady. It grew every year when I first got here, but now it has kind if stabilized. The kids who are beginners when I first came here graduated three years ago. Now, all the kids who are in the program have gone through it with me. Before I got here, I was the 10th director in 10 years. With that much change, kids just didn’t stick with it.”
“I’m not saying I’m all that great of a director,” Fitch laughed, “But when someone shows interest in the kids, they tend to stay in band. This is the most amount of kids who made a one in Solo and Ensemble. It’s also the most number of kids we have put in All-Region in years.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.