MCC band earns ‘superior’ rating at state

May 8, 2019

SCOTTVILLE — The Mason County Central High School Symphonic Winds capped off a strong year with a “superior” rating at the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA) state festival on May 1 at Manistee High School.

Band Director Tom Thomas told the Daily News on Tuesday that the band received an overall rating of 1 at the festival, which is the highest possible score.

Thomas said the festival was judged in a new format this year, with the band performing two pieces for a panel of three judges. A fourth judge was a clinician who worked with the band for about 15 minutes following their performance.

Thomas said the students rose to the challenge of the new format.

“I am certainly proud of all my kids,” Thomas stated in a release.

In March, Thomas told the Daily News that the band had overcome some adversity this year.

“I’ve got kidney failure,” he said at the time. “That has entered into the year because I’ve been gone for doctor’s appointments.”

The students persevered and continued to rehearse and practice in Thomas’ absence, he said, receiving straight 1s at the MSBOA regional festival on Feb. 28 in Big Rapids.

It initially seemed as though Thomas would need dialysis treatment for his kidney problems, but he’s improved to the degree that this hasn’t been necessary.

“I was going to a doctor appointment in February via the Cadillac home dialysis center. They gave me a tour, showed me the machine I was going to use, confirmed a home visit the next day and told me the surgeon was ordered to put the port in,” Thomas said. “When I went to the doctor, he said my most recent blood work had greatly improved and we postponed dialysis. My March appointment showed my numbers to be stable and so my next appointment is in June.”

In addition to their director’s missed time, the MCC band students also lost valuable practice time during the 11 snow days the district took during January’s polar vortex.

“Between my health and our crazy weather, we absolutely could have just given up, but the kids responded and made a gem of a year,” Thomas stated, noting that the bands continued to rehearse when he was gone, and that their dedication to their playing led to their achievements at the festival level.

The MCC Jazz Band also had a winning year, receiving straight 1s and high praise from judges at the MSBOA State Jazz Festival at Bellaire High School in March, according to Thomas.

The spring concert is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 13 at the high school’s A.O. Carlson Auditorium.

The concert is free and open to the public, and will feature performances by the Symphonic Winds, as well as the MCC Jazz Band, which also earned top marks and high praise from judges at the MSBOA Jazz Festival on March 20 at Bellaire High School.