By Derek Frazier

Staff writer

The Ada High School Band recently won several awards at the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association meeting April 19 and at a competition at St. Louis April 22.

"I felt the students performed extremely well at the state contest," Paul Crowl, Ada High band director said. "I felt confident but was also anxious until we found out we won the sweepstakes."

At the state contest, members who received superior ratings on their solos were, Matthew Beasley, Erica Phillips and Kelsey Creed. Members of the percussion ensembles who received a superior rating were Colby Cowart, Wyas Parker, Kevin Jackson, Jacob Castleberry, Bart Estes, Chad Palmer, Kelsey Creed, Kelsey Wingo, Justin Logan, Trevin Vass, Bethany Jackson, Riley Keith, Brandon Russell, Sarah Jay and Austin Cummins.

In addition to those wins, the concert band also made superior ratings in stage and sight reading, which earned an OSSAA sweepstakes award, which is equivalent to a state championship.

"Winning sweepstakes, which is the same as a state championship, is very exciting," Marissa Long, Ada senior band member said. "This is the first time we have won it since I have been part of the band program. We've worked really hard and I'm glad to see that our hard work has paid off. Most bands don't get to experience this, and it's an awesome feeling."

"These seniors have really persevered and everything culminated at state," Crowl said. "They had a bumpy ride but in the end it was well worth the trip."

The luck continued days later at the competition at St. Louis, with the percussion ensemble, jazz ensemble and concert band all making gold ratings, which are equivalent to superior ratings.

"At St. Louis I felt we performed well considering they hadn't played their horns in three days," Crowl said. "It did not go as well as State but I figured that would happen. It was still very good and good enough to win their sweepstakes award also."

Other awards given were Adjudicators Awards to both the percussion ensemble and concert band, which are only given to those with at least a 90 percent score. The concert band was also one of only two groups to receive an invitation to the Concert of Gold, a Boston-based function.

"The Concert of Gold in Boston is in conjunction with the Boston Symphony and that in itself is very exciting," Crowl said. "The problem is we can only go on trips every three years and the expenses involved."

The High School Band was also awarded the overall Instrumental Sweepstakes award for overall highest school.

"When we received our sweepstakes, I called Mr. (Bill) Nelson to tell him and he let me know that it was the first State Championship for any group at Ada High in almost ten years," Crowl said. "He was as excited as I was and that was great to hear. It is our 15th Championship with the band and I am honored to be part of this school and band organization."

Upcoming events for band members include the Jazz Band attending State Jazz contest today, the 6th grade band contest April 28 at the Lake Texoma Funfest, 7th and 8th grade band goes to contest at Frontier City May 6, the Spring Concert with the 6th grade band on May 9, the Band Banquet at the Methodist Church on May 11 and the high school band rounding out the school year with a performance at the high school graduation on May 16.

"I would like to thank the high school administration and teachers, band boosters, community, the band staff and most of all, the students for a very successful year. We could not have done it without everyone's help."