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For band programs across Okaloosa County, All County Band is the best-of-the-best. This is the top band musicians in Okaloosa County at both the middle school level and the high school level.
While making All County is a friendly and healthy competition, it’s still a competition to earn your place within the band each year. The audition arguably selects the best throughout all the sections of the band, and then they’re actually placed in chair order based on those auditions.
The ensemble begins rehearsal in mid-to-late January, and as it gets closer to the concert, a guest clinician comes in, who actually conducts them for the concert.
“Because the ensemble is such a high-performing ensemble, our clinicians that come in can program some really good music for these kids to consume and perform for the community,” said Brad Parks, Director of Bands at Choctawhatchee High School.
This week, the clinicians have had a chance to work their magic and offer up their skills to refine the music that the kids have been preparing in order to create a memorable concert experience.
- At the high school level, Dr. Douglas Phillips, Director of Bands at Stetson University, will be conducting the ensemble.
- For middle school, Michael Loffredo, Director of Bands at Pine Island Academy School, is leading the students.
“They’ve been doing great,” said Parks. “It’s a fun time because you have the best-of-the-best in the room. The kids are able to read through the music very quickly and you can work on fine-tuning and really getting into the details of the music pretty quickly. And they all sound fantastic!”
With close to 100 students in the middle school All County band, and upwards of 115 students for high school, Parks says it’s been great to hear a really big band sound.
“This is a larger band than any of the individual concert bands or symphonic bands or wind ensembles they perform in during the Spring at their own schools,” he said.
Parks says he’s excited for this Saturday’s concert because the music has some memorable moments.
“Give Us This Day by David Maslanka is a masterwork of a piece that can pull the heartstrings with some of the melodies,” he said. “It also hits you with a ton of power with the wind instruments and percussion.”
The concerts on Saturday are happening at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville and will be a combined concert with both middle and high school.
- Saturday, Jan 29th at 2pm – FREE CONCERT
“The students are all wearing their school colors,” said Parks. “The high schools are in their marching band uniforms, and the middle schools are in their uniforms from the fall. So you can see the representation from all of the schools on stage.”
“We just invite everyone from the community out to hear and support the great work that these students from across the district have been putting in,” added Parks.