KFHS bandmates honored

Published 10:41 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

King’s Fork High School has shown it is a force to be reckoned within the band realm after eight students made the cut for the 2012 District IV Concert Band.

King’s Fork High students Christian Spellman and Devan Knox are among eight members of the school’s band to be named to the District IV Concert Band. Only the district’s best musicians are chosen for the band.

Named to the band were seniors Spencer Jefferson on baritone saxophone and Christian Spellman on tuba; juniors Deval Knox on trumpet, Chris Hampton on baritone, Dylan Blodgett on bass clarinet and Carly Lankford on clarinet; and sophomores Jahrod Blunt on tuba and Tyla Holloway on baritone.

The King’s Fork students were among 10 Suffolk public high school students to have been named to the regional concert band. Additionally, five King’s Fork students were named alternates: seniors Jewlyus Grigsby, Cassandra Davis and Chavez White; junior Jasmine Mabrey; and sophomore Jasmine Harper.

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Band director Jason Taylor said the students worked extraordinarily hard to make the district band. Auditions were held at Grassfield High School before a panel of music educators.

“They had to play from memory 12 major scales and a chromatic scale,” Taylor said.

“They are given a third piece and have a month to work on it. After that, they have 30 seconds to turn over a piece of music … 30 seconds to review it, then they have to play it.

“It determines their ability to read and interpret music.”

Three of the King’s Fork students scored high enough for the chance to audition for the All-State Band at James Madison University on Feb. 23.

“In the past, there hasn’t been a whole lot of students representing Suffolk in All-District,” Taylor added. “This is a big thing for them.”

The number of students getting involved in band at King’s Fork has been on the rise, he said.

Taking up an instrument in the school band has the potential to win a student lucrative scholarships, according to Taylor.

“They don’t have to necessarily major in music to get a scholarship,” he said. “Several of our seniors this year were offered scholarships; two to Prairie View A&M University in Texas, and then Hampton University offered 12 seniors scholarships.”

Learning an instrument and studying music builds analytical skills, Taylor said, adding, “They have to multi-task.”

The King’s Fork marching band program currently has a little more than 100 students and the concert band about 75.

“A good majority of them do both,” Taylor said. “The ones that made the (district) band, they do marching band and the concert band.”