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Kingsley Band Notes March 2024

By Lance Dubay

Kingsley Band Director

Kingsley Bands had a busy February and March.

On February 5, Kingsley hosted Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) District II Solo and Ensemble Festival.

Some 900 students from 32 member schools in the region came to Kingsley. When hosting events like this there are many moving parts. A variety of jobs have to be completed in order for the day to run smoothly. Adjudicators come from all parts of the state, area band directors run the performance rooms, and we are responsible for making meals for directors/judges and providing concessions for visiting schools. Our students take on a leadership role running warmup rooms ensuring that performances keep to their schedule.

16 classrooms at KHS were turned into warmup and performance rooms for the day (desks stacked), and music equipment setup in each room. In addition many of our students had double duty both as room workers and as performers.

Solos and Ensembles are evaluated in five categories: Tone, Intonation, Technique, Rhythm, and Interpretation. In order for a student to earn a First division rating (the highest possible), students need 3 or more “A’s”, likewise to earn a Second Division Rating students need to earn 3 or more “B’s”.

All students earning a First Division Rating qualify for State Solo and Ensemble. Congratulations to the following students on their fantastic ratings: Emma Belanger &Kaylin Mitchell- Marimba Duet I; Tyler Kanakis, Natalie Sterk, Mara Van Wagner- Saxophone Trio I; Mary Bauer- Trumpet Solo II; Mara Van Wagner- Bassoon Solo I; Natalie Crawford- Euphonium Solo II; Jonny Gramza, Sideon Holland, Tyler Kanakis, Levi Sterk- mixed quartet I; Morgan DeVries- Snare Drum Solo I; Natalie Sterk, Mara Van Wagner- Double Reed Duet I; Alex Ottman, Crystine Whitbeck- Flute Duet II; Tyler Kankis- Alto Sax solo I. 

State Solo and Ensemble was held in Cadillac on March 16.

Emma Belanger and Kaylin Mitchell earned a I on their marimba duet, and the mixed quartet of Jonny, Sid, Tyler, and Levi also earned a I. Mara Van Wagner, and Natalie Sterk earned a II on their double reed duet. 

Also in February, both the Middle School Concert Band, and the High School Symphony Band performed in MSBOA District II Band and Orchestra Festival. 

Similar to solo and ensemble the bands are evaluated on five categories: Tone, Intonation, Rhythm, Technique, and Interpretation. In order earn a Division I rating, bands must earn “A’s” in three or more categories. There are two portions to the festival, the first part is an adjudicated concert performance. Bands must perform three selections in front of three concert judges. The first tune performed must me a concert march, the second selection is chosen from a prescribed list assembled by MSBOA, and the final tune is a free choice.

The lists bands chose from are based on the size of the school, and the age level of the students, meaning high school bands do not play off the same list as middle school bands. If the music is too “easy” for your band you are however, you are able to play off of a higher list.

Both our middle school and high school bands performed pieces well beyond their years. The middle school band performed a high school level program earning a Division I rating from each concert judge. The high school band performed a college level program earning a Division I rating with straight A’s. One of the pieces played by the Symphony Band was recorded by the North Texas Wind Symphony (arguably the top band program in the country), which caught the attention of adjudicator. He made the comment, “no band understands Canto like your band does or plays it as well as you did, except maybe North Texas."

Following the concert performance, the bands then go to a different room for sight reading. In sight reading the students and director are presented with a piece of music they have never seen before. We are allowed five minutes to look at and talk about the piece of music, then we perform the piece for another judge. This judge does not hear your concert performance, making this a true evaluation of the teaching happening in the classroom. The adjudicator is to evaluate the students in light of their overall musical performance as well as their work during the preparation phase. Again both bands earned straight A’s and a Division I rating in sight reading. An average is taken between both the concert and sight reading scores. All bands earning a Division I qualify for State Band Festival, both our bands again earned top scores qualifying for state festival. This marks 13 straight years for the high school band and 15 straight years for the middle school bands. 

On March 12 four members of the Middle School Concert band were selected to participate in the MSBOA District Honor Band (think all star team).

This included Lylah Newton Oboe, Madilyn Charbonneau contra-alto clarinet, Molly Schichtel contra-bass clarinet, and Craig Donner Baritone. The band this year was comprised of 128 students from northern Michigan and featured guest conductor Dr. Mary Land from Western Michigan University. 


To learn more about Kingsley Band, visit or email Lance Dubay at

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