The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 17, 2013

Concert bands earn superior ratings

Clements, Tanner earn top MPA scores

By Kim West

— Vechiel Stone is a former trumpeter for the U.S. Marine Corps Band, and in his second year as band director at Tanner High School.

Gary Russell moonlights as a keyboardist and background vocalist for local band Bluewater, and is in his 15th year as the Clements High School band director.

Stone and Russell graduated from the University of North Alabama music program — a feeder for many of the area’s band directors and music teachers — and they each lead top-rated band programs.

The Clements and Tanner concert bands both brought back superior performance trophies from the Music Performers Assessment, which is a statewide competition sponsored by the Alabama Bandmasters Association.

Both bands received ones, or superior ratings, by a three-judge panel during the on-stage phase of the competition. The student musicians performed three prepared pieces and were judged on tone, intonation, technique, rhythm, balance and musicianship.