Spring is in the air at Lipscomb Academy. And, so are the sounds of melodious voices and instruments that are among the best in the region.
Lipscomb Academy's choruses and band programs recently received top grades for performance and sight-reading at regional and state adjudication festivals.
For the first time in school history, the high school concert band received a "superior" designation from all three performance judges and in sight-reading in the MTSBOA Concert Performance Assessment held at Middle Tennessee State University in March. The band was graded based on performing several works as well as a sight-reading performance. This qualified the concert band to participate in the state adjudication festival in April for the first time in program history. At the TMEA State Concert Festival, bands are not graded but receive feedback on their performances and have a distinguished professional provide a brief clinic.
The middle school concert band also received a "superior" grade in sight-reading at their regional adjudication. Both bands are led by Band Director Noel Hicks.
"As we grow and develop our program, it is critical that we receive feedback from impartial and qualified judges," said Hicks. "This year proved to be an indicator that we are on the right track. It was an amazing feeling for me to see the joy on those students' faces when I walked out with the trophies. They have stayed the course and worked incredibly hard. That success not only gave them a much-deserved sense of accomplishment, but it also helps build momentum throughout our entire band program."
Hicks has built the program into one of the best concert bands in the area.
"We are proud of the students and this superior accomplishment," said Robert King, director of the fine arts program at Lipscomb Academy and director of the high school chorus program. "It is a blessing to have a man of Mr. Hicks' character and ability to lead our program, which he continues to strengthen every year. This has been a great year for the program."
The choral program also received top marks.
The seventh and eighth grade chorus, directed by Elizabeth Harrell, received superior scores with an 11.8 on a 12-point scale. They received a superior score from the three performance judges and a superior in sight-reading.
"I believe that the 7th-8th chorus truly earned their high score," said Harrell. "They have been a small but mighty group this year, and I could not be more proud of them. They have really turned into not only good singers, but good musicians."
Earlier this semester the high school concert chorus and the freshman chorus received superior ratings in both performance and sight-reading at the Middle Tennessee Vocal Association adjudication festival, which qualified them for the state festival in April. At the American Choral Directors Association Tennessee State Choral Festival, 74 choirs performed over four days in three cities. The freshman chorus scored an 11.16 on a 12-point scale, and ranked 11th among all choirs. The concert chorus received an 11.7, one of only two choirs to receive an A+, and were the highest rated choir in the state. (Listen to one of the adjudication festival pieces.)
"Objective critique is the key to improvement," said King. "It is critical to our professional development and to the benefit of our program. It's good to get out of our four walls and see how others view our ability and to learn from others. This is how we become the best we can be every year."