WBHS band gets ‘superior’ rating
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · May 10, 2013

West Branch High School’s band earned a Division I — superior — rating Saturday at the annual Iowa High School Music Association Large Group Contest.

A superior rating is the highest a high school can earn.

“I was really proud of our kids for achieving that,” band instructor Staci Speer said. “Our band has a history of earning Division I, so it was cool to be able to carry on that tradition.”

Speer said it was “coolest” to see how proud the students were when the returned to class on Monday and kept telling their friends about it.

At the same competition, the WBHS choir earned a Division II — excellent — rating.

Choir Director Chris Reed said performances take place in front of three judges, and the group earns the rating given by at least two of the judges.

The band performed “Choreography” by Robert Sheldon, “A Childhood Hymn” by David Holsinger, and “The Trombone King” by Karl King. Speer said judges look at balancing and blend, technique, articulation, and intonation when considering the ratings.

“We were given Division I ratings by all three judges,” she said.

West Branch performed in the Class 2A category and competes in the Southeast division.

“A majority of schools participate,” she said. “It is a good opportunity for feedback and a positive experience.”

Reed said the choir typically receives a Division I rating, and one judge did give it such a score. However, two judges decided to award West Branch Division II this year.

The choir performed “God is our Refuge” by Allen Pote, “If Ye Love Me” by Thomas Tallis and “Last Words of David” by Randall Thompson.

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