The time of year following football season is often thought of as the “off season” for the Chipley High School Band. However, the winter months have been equally as busy for the student musicians of the Chipley High School “Spirit of the Tiger” Band. Several members of the band have recently been recognized for their excellence in musicianship.

Florida State University hosted the 37th annual Tri-State Band Festival in December, two Chipley High School Band students were selected to participate in as members of the Tri-State Honors Band: Seniors Ashley Bunting and Anastasia Stoker. These students rehearsed and attended master classes presented by Florida State University College of Music professors over three days and then performed a concert in Tallahassee.

The Florida Bandmasters Association All-State Bands were hosted by the City of Tampa in January. Chipley High School was represented again this year by Junior Trombonist Caleb Beckley and Senior Bass Clarinetist Anastasia Stoker in the Florida High School All-State Honors Band, a select ensemble of 110 students from schools from around our state. With the financial help of the Chipley Band Boosters, the students traveled to Tampa to rehearse and perform with this group in early January.

The Florida Bandmasters Association District Two Small Schools All-District Bands were selected and performed in late January at First Baptist Church in Chipley. There were 28 Chipley High School Band members that auditioned for the bands and all were accepted, with six students earning first chair positions. Chipley High School ninth graders selected for the Junior High All-District Band were: Ty’niyah Andres, tuba; Trevor Balkcom, trombone; Noah Beckley, tenor saxophone; Carrlee Harris, alto saxophone; Natalie Spencer, trumpet and Blake Stoker, euphonium. Senior High Honor Band members from Chipley High School were: Caleb Beckley, trombone; Emily Broom, bass clarinet; Ashley Bunting, alto saxophone; Emma Foxworth, trumpet; Laura Beth Gage, French horn; Jade Garvin, oboe; Kaylee Jeffries, flute; Jayla Kindelspire, flute; Alex King, flute; Dylan Mockridge, trumpet; Anastasia Stoker, bass clarinet; Gabrielle Patteson, clarinet; Gracie Renfro, tuba; Honor Rogers, euphonium; Dylan Rudd, tuba; Fallon Standland, clarinet; Heather Stephens, clarinet; and Travis Wyatt, euphonium.

The first weekend in February, 10 Chipley High School students were selected to perform as members of the 45th annual Southeastern United States Concert Band Clinic and Honor Bands at Troy University in Troy, Alabama. Placed by audition in the honor bands at the event were, Trevor Balkcom, Caleb Beckley, Emily Broom, Ashley Bunting, Jayla Kindelspire, Dylan Rudd, Natalie Spencer, Fallon Standland, Anastasia Stoker, and Heather Stephens. The students rehearsed over three days in Troy, and concluded the weekend with a concert to show off what they had learned from their nationally recognized guest conductors.

Nearly 800 students converged on the campus of the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, for the Florida Bandmasters Association District Two Solo and Ensemble Performance Assessment Friday, February 9. The Chipley High School Band entered events at the festival, and came away with 10 “Superior” events. Several students earned Superiors on difficult music and qualified for the Florida Bandmasters Association State S&E Assessment. Qualifying for state were: Caleb Beckley, trombone solo; Ashley Bunting, clarinet and alto saxophone solos; Gabby Patteson, clarinet solo; and Heather Stephens, clarinet solo. The students will travel to Gainesville to perform at State in late March. Rachel Bruner, volunteered to assist the students as their piano accompanist.

But the spring semester has just begun, and the “Spirit of the Tiger” Band now turns to preparing for the District Concert Band Music Performance Assessment sponsored by the Florida Bandmasters Association and hosted at Chipley High School Thursday, March 8 and Friday, March 9. The Chipley High School Band will be striving for their 26th consecutive Superior rating at the District event. According to Band Captain Heather Stephens, “we hope to perform our best and extend the tradition of excellence that the Chipley High School Band Program has represented in our community.”

The District Concert Band Music Performance Assessment will be held in the Chipley High School Performing Arts Auditorium and free and open to the public. Area bands performing on Thursday, March 8, include the Roulhac Middle School Concert Band at10 a.m., Roulhac Middle School Wind Ensemble at 1:30 p.m., Vernon High School Concert Band at 3:15 p.m., and the Chipley High School Symphonic Band at 5:30 p.m. Among the bands performing on Friday, March 9 is the Holmes County High School Symphonic Band at 3:15 p.m.