ABA: ALL STATE 2018 is in the books!

After coming off an amazing week of All-State Band I am flooded with words to express how band is alive and well in our great state.  The ABA All-State began with the Solo Festival held at Huntingdon College. The amount of talent and hard work is amazing and somehow the judges narrowed it down to seven finalists. Dalton Kulick from Hartselle High School was the winner of the finals and also received the first ABA Solo Festival Award of $500.00, which was awarded at his school on the Thursday following All-State.

The next day was filled with auditions and preparations for the rehearsals for over 650 students. Our clinicians, Col. Timothy Holtan, Julie Giroux, Rick Good and Cheryl Floyd began their rehearsals on Thursday night. This year we added clinics on Friday for the directors.  The first was a front ensemble clinic with Jeff Lee from New Mexico State University through Skype and was an informative clinic on amplification of the front ensemble.  Another clinic was a second part to the Middle School Coffee Talk from the AMEA conference with Brandon Peters, Leah Seng and David Caddell.  It was great to hear the new ideas from the clinicians and from the participants on how to get students motivated and working.  The last clinic of the day was a district level All-State audition procedure clinic, where we discussed our plan to standardize the process each district uses to audition for All-State.  The concert Friday night by the Alabama A&M Wind Ensemble conducted by Carlton Wright was not only outstanding but inspiring.  Saturday’s All-State concert was filled with beautiful musical moments.  All the bands did an outstanding job.  There were many.  One of highlights of the program was Julie Giroux’s new piece entitled “Our Castaways”, which is about the rescued animals we have as part of our families.  The cover and several pages of the score are covered with the pictures of our beloved pets and the proceeds of this project will be donated to the Humane Society.  All the bands were excellent and it always amazes me what our band students can and do accomplish in a matter of two days.   I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Gene Butler and District 6 directors for their tireless work on the logistics of this event.  Everything ran smoothly and professionally.

We have now been through an entire year under the evaluation process and the data we have collected is very eye opening.  I want to thank our district chairmen and vice-chairmen for the outstanding job they do in running their districts and for completing the extra work that gathering data requires.  Even though the evaluation is a 4 year cycle the board will be studying the information this summer to make sure nothing needs to be addressed sooner.  The data will be available to the membership after summer conference on www.abafest.com.

As we return to our schools preparing the final concerts, testing, recruitment and graduation, don’t forget to evaluate your year- the good, the band and the ugly.  Make plans to join us in Orange Beach on June 19-21 for the ABA Summer Conference.  The clinics so far are two clinics with David Gregory on working with your administration and the other on rehearsal techniques.  There will be a clinic on copyright law and Andy Nevala will be presenting a clinic on teaching Latin Jazz to your high school and middle school jazz bands.  With Andy’s clinic, he is asking directors to bring their instruments to be the reading jazz band for the clinic.  There will be a sign up for this clinic on the registration form.  Of course, we will still have the shrimp boil with the old fogey series.  So make plans to join us at the beach for a time to unwind, recharge and fellowship with our ABA family.  Thank you for allowing us to serve the membership as the ABA board of directors and as always, please let us know of concerns or ideas to make the organization a stronger, better ABA.