3 Panthers ensembles rated superior

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By Rodnita Simmons

Recently, the Smiths Station High School band had two noteworthy performances.  The first was a performance at Troy University on Feb. 27 per invitation from the Troy band as a part of an outreach to get involved with area high schools.

Before the performance, the band got to practice with Troy’s band and work with Troy’s faculty. Smiths Station’s performance, which came before Troy’s, included a special performance of Someone to Watch Over Me, which featured assistant band director Chris Helms playing the alto saxophone. The symphonic band is the top performing band at the high school in which members must audition to join.

On March 5, all three of the school’s bands, including the junior high intermediate, concert and symphonic high school bands, traveled to the State Assessment in Alexander City, Ala. There, they performed three pieces of music, including a repeat of Someone to Watch Over Me, and they also had to sight read a piece of music they had never seen before.

The bands received all superior ratings — the highest rating possible.

“It’s a big deal for all three ensembles to receive superior ratings straight across the board,” said band director Gene Butler.

Butler, who is an alumnus of the school, has been director for two years. Prior to this, he was a director in Montgomery.

Butler is joined in leading the band by assistant Chris Helms and associate director Shawn Geiger.

Both Butler and Helms are both alumni of Smith Station high school and Troy University.

“Playing in the band was a big part of my life growing up, and coming back to direct them, I hope to continue to build on the tradition of excellence of this high school,” Butler said.