Pioneer Symphony Band commended in national program

From AAPSNews Service

The Pioneer High School Symphony Band has been selected by the National Wind Band Honors Project as a 2010 Commended Winner in its Mark of Excellence program.

In this national competition, the top quarter of entrants are selected as National Winners and the second quarter receive Commended honors. The Mark of Excellence program has now received entries from 32 states and had 138 entries this year, according to Rick Yancey, managing director of the program.

“The Pioneer band is an exemplary group and a credit to your teaching and leadership,” Yancey said in his announcement.

Adjudicators for the project were Craig Kirchhoff, band director at the University of Minnesota; Gary Green, director or bands at the University of Miami; and Mark Camphouse, composer, assistant dean of the School of Music and director of bands at George Mason University.

“It says a lot for what we do here,” said David Leach, Pioneer’s director of bands since 2001, who said his school is fortunate to have such support.  “Ann Arbor has done better than most (districts) in focusing on the fine arts. We are an art-directed school district and get a lot of support.”

Music performed and recorded by the Pioneer Symphony Band between September 2009 and March 2010 was submitted for review and consideration. Submitted were the band performing “Lincolnshire Posy” by Perry Grainger, and “Wild Nights!” by Frank Ticheli.

Pioneer competes in the 5A class, which is the largest of the competition’s categories, Leach said.

There are 86 members in the Pioneer Symphony Band this year. Last summer 92 band members traveled to China as part of the Bridge Foundation’s program, performing throughout the country including a concert at The Great Wall.

Leach is a Huron High School graduate who ran the band program for the Ypsilanti Community Schools before coming to Ann Arbor.

For a video of the Pioneer Symphony Band, as well as other performing arts groups from Pioneer performing during the 2010 GRAMMY Concert, visit:

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