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50 musicians tapped for all state

Programs' strength credited

POSTED: February 1, 2013 12:28 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

All-state bassoonist Sven Mesihovic performs with the Riverwatch Middle School band Tuesday.

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It was a record-breaking year for Forsyth County’s musicians as 50 middle and high school students were selected to the Georgia Music Educators’ Association All-State Bands and Orchestras.

That figure was 15 more than last year, when 35 students were selected.

Forsyth County School Superintendent Buster Evans was pleased with the increase.

“Our schools have strong music programs, which are led by dedicated music teachers and supported by committed parents,” he said. “We congratulate these students on working hard to receive this recognition and wish them the best for their concert performances in March.”

All students were selected based on two separate auditions conducted at the district and state levels. They will perform a series of concerts March 2 in Savannah.

With 14 students selected as among the top players in the state for their age groups, Riverwatch had the strongest representation in both the county and state at the middle school level.

Matthew Koperniak, the school’s band director, said he’s proud of his students.

“They’re hard workers,” he said. “They are kids that started working in August … and worked diligently on a daily basis.

“[They] consistently put themselves in positions that were outside their comfort zone so when they got into the audition room of adults judging them, they were set up for success.”

While those 14 students excelled, Koperniak said their success is just one indicator of the skill level of the overall 420-member band.

“If only those 14 kids can play great, the band is going to sound really bad,” Koperniak said. “I think these kids all like being in band because they like playing music that resonates with them and it’s challenging and fun.

“There’s no bench in band, chorus or orchestra. Everyone is important.”

North Forsyth High didn’t have any students selected for all-state last year, but had two make the cut this year.

“It goes up and down around here,” said Raymond Thomas, North’s band director. “The school typically is represented well but it just depends on the year.

“We have a number of really talented kids, so I’m surprised that we don’t have more.”

For each grade level, there are two concert bands and one orchestra. In addition to performing under the direction of world renowned musicians, the students will have the chance to learn more about music through a variety of workshops.

According to Koperniak, it’s a great opportunity for students to enhance their skills. Even for those not planning to pursue music as a career, the opportunity of all-state, as well as just being part of a band, is a valuable tool to personal growth.

“It’s such an important skill set for the work force,” he said. “Most of these kids are not going onto music as a profession. but it’s the idea of working well with others, the idea of delayed gratification and basically critical thinking.”


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