James River Day School

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January 23, 2020

There are so many wonderful things happening at school each day that it is often difficult to choose which one to share with you here. However, this week, I have especially good news to share.
We recently had seven band students audition for the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association (VBODA) District 6 All-District Band. The students’ audition included scales (from memory), a prepared piece, and sight-reading a song they had not seen before. In a field of 35+ middle schools with more than 400 students auditioning, ALL SEVEN of our students made it!
Imagine being a tween or young teen and having to play an instrument in front of strangers who are judging one’s ability and performance. It might have been the most nerve-wracking experience of their young lives, but they remained calm and focused. They excelled. This is what the arts do for young people. It prepares them for challenging material and circumstances. It gives them the confidence to give a solo, public performance in front of strangers and pull it off brilliantly.
My congratulations to the seven James River students who clinched seats in the All-District Band. In Symphonic Band (highest scores), we had a seventh grader named as 2nd chair bass clarinet, 8th graders took 3rd chair tenor sax, 3rd chair trumpet, 12th chair trumpet, and 18th chair clarinet. In Concert Band (next highest scores), eighth graders were named as 3rd chair oboe and 3rd chair clarinet. I am so incredibly proud of these students’ hard work. My deepest thanks to Mrs. Leigh Berkley for her dedication to and leadership of our instrumental music program.
These students will travel to Martinsville on February 14-15 to participate in the VBODA All-District Band event. These stellar results clearly indicate what a high-quality music program we have.