Submitted by Jeannie L. Bennett
Chief Operational Officer for Student Services

Calhoun County Board of Education and Superintendent Kelli Whytsell recognized the Calhoun County Middle High School Percussion Ensemble at their May meeting.

The Ensemble is under the volunteer direction of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Henry. This group has earned many awards and will continue to expand their program next year.

Students will have the opportunity to attend classes to learn to compose and arrange music. The group then plans to perform the student arrangements. The 21st Century ASPIRE program will sponsor the classes and purchase new software to assist with this venture.

Ensemble member Nicholas Millette, auditioned and was accepted into Glenville State College music program studying Music Technology. William Keener, auditioned and was accepted into Glenville State College studying Music Technology. He received a superior rating at GSC Solo and Ensemble performance. Both Will and Nick claim no interest in higher education until recently and said that performing with the Ensemble made them feel as though they had the talent to achieve more.

Nolan Nelson received a superior rating at GSC Solo and Ensemble, and was a finalist at the WVMEA Honor Recital. He was personally invited to perform at the Arts Alive exhibit in Charleston by Dr. Ray Lowther. Nolan declined in lieu of GSC Honor Band where he received 4th chair out of 18 percussion students.

Zenna Zwoll also received a superior rating at GSC Solo and Ensemble. She performed with GSC Honor Band 2nd Chair out of 18 students, most of which were high school students. The judges said they were quite impressed that a freshman had a skill set as strong as Zenna's who is a 7th grade student.

the Ensemble performed at the GSC Solo and Ensemble and received a superior rating on a grade 2 piece. Grade 2 is a typical middle school performance level and appropriate for a new group.

In 2018 they received an excellent rating, just shy of superior, performing a grade 4 piece which is commonly found in upper high school level ensembles. Calhoun County's Ensemble is primarily middle school students.

The Ensemble performed at a number of new venues this year, including, the 5th annual Percussion EXPO in Clarksburg; Lions Club in Grantsville; Arnoldsburg and Pleasant Hill Elementary; and the First Baptist Church in Spencer.

The Ensemble performed as special guests with The Calhoun Cabaret at the Arnoldsburg Community Building on May 25th and 26th, and will perform for the Wood Festival on May 31st. at 5 p.m.

In tandem with performance, the group is diving into music theory during our Saturday practices. The goal is to get students to experience music through composition and arranging.

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