Taylor High School Band

Taylor High School’s Symphonic Band received Division I rating, which is the highest rating possible, from all four judges at the Michigan School, Band & Orchestra Association’s Band & Orchestra Festival earlier this month. In the last four years attending this festival, no group from Taylor has received a Division I rating, let alone from all four judges like happened this year.

“We have been practicing our music since the start of the new semester in January,” says Brian Wieczorek, Taylor High School’s Director of Bands. “Students practice often during school and at home. I think they genuinely enjoyed the music, which led them to want to practice more on their own. And it showed.”

Along with the students’ practicing and preparation, Brian also credits the music the band chose to play at the festival for its success, saying last year they took on music that was a lot more challenging and didn’t allow them to really dig deeper into the performance itself.

“We had just the right amount of challenges without making it impossible for students to do well,” he said. “Last year, the music was so difficult it didn’t allow the students to reach their full potential, which, I believe, is the primary reason we received a Division III rating last year.”

This year’s focus has been different, too. Which also helped our band reach their full potential.

“One thing I wanted to focus on this year was intonation with the full group,” Brian says. “Intonation is basically how well in tune the students are with themselves and each other. Each student has been practicing with a tuner on their stand to help let them know if they are in tune or not. We are using these each day during class so students are learning more about their instrument tendencies to help our overall group.”

Despite having to reschedule the festival due to weather and having a few students who couldn’t make it because of the rescheduling conflict, the students who did attend were able to take things in stride, showing how strong Taylor High School’s band really is.

“The students achieving straight I's from four judges makes me proud because it really shows that their hard work can pay off,” says Brian. “We were a little nervous going into the day of festival, but I am proud because the students who were able to go stepped up and focused on their goal of giving their best performance.

 “Most of all, it shows the students that they have that potential in them,” continued Brian. “When they have a bad day in the future, I can remind them that they have that ‘Superior’ group deep down inside of them and they just need to harness that energy again.”

The band will now be headed to States following this performance. Any group who receives a I rating is eligible for States. They will be performing (tentatively) at the Detroit School of Arts on May 6th for State Band & Orchestra Festival, where they hope to receive another Division I rating.

Way to go, Band!