The Mark of Excellence is made up of National Wind Band honors, National Choral honors, National Orchestra honors, National Jazz honors and National Percussion honors
Last school year, Frenship High School Director of Bands, Dr. Ryan Smith, entered recordings of the group to the Foundation for Music Education Mark of Excellence competition.
“Last year because of COVID, I tried to make things as normal as possible for the kids,” Dr. Smith said. “Everything changed from All-Region competitions being done virtually through recorded submissions, I mean honestly everything had changed.”
In an effort to have an inclusive, competitive year, Dr. Smith submit recordings to the Foundation for Music Education contest.
“We had a very good band,” Dr. Smith said. “We had a very mature ensemble, so I was always looking for opportunities to put them out there and see how they could do. With the Mark of Excellence competition, nationally recognized adjudicators listen to your recordings and rank them and then you see where you fall in the process.”
Dr. Smith explained that he used the University Interscholastic League (UIL) performance recordings of their pieces from the concert band competition at Buddy Holly Hall last March.
“I submit two recordings of our pieces,” Dr. Smith said. “I submit one of our pieces called ‘La Fiesta Mexicana’ by H. Owen Reid, it was a three-movement work, and I submit another selection we played called ‘Colonial Song' by Percy Grainger.”
Dr. Smith entered into this competition last April and just found out last week that he and his group received the Commended Winner award.
“It was a very good ensemble,” Dr. Smith said. “They are very deserving of this recognition, and I am so proud of how they did through all of the obstacles they faced last year.”
This year in the Mark of Excellence competition, more than 230 ensembles across 38 states submit their recordings.
“When you look at the winners, it is amazing to see all of the Texas schools that are represented,” Dr. Smith said. “This really proves that we have such quality music education in the state of Texas, and that is quite humbling. To just be on the same list as many of these programs is so honoring.”