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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: HMS to perform at NC music teachers' conference

Malia Easler and Kelly Annunziata. Malia Easler and Kelly Annunziata.

Longtime Hendersonville High School band director Fran Shelton stood outside the band room at Hendersonville Middle School before the morning bell on on a recent morning.

"You won't have a great high school band unless you have a great middle school band," she was saying. "The secret of our success is what goes on here in the middle school."
What was going on in the band room at 8:15 in the morning was a band director molding the ensemble into top form with a patient but steady determination.
"You never take a breath at the bar note," Director Buddy Gudger told the wind musicians. "You always want a constant sound being carried over the bar line — does that make sense? You never want to hear a breath over the bar line."
Gudger instructed the young musicians on when they could sneak a breath.
"Austin, what was that word we used yesterday? Inconspicuous. What does that mean?"
"Not noticeable?" Austin answered tentatively.
"I'm not hearing 'inconspicuous'," Gudger went on. "I'm hearing a breath. That means you have to sneak a breath. You have to take it quickly."
Try again.

Hendersonville Middle School Eighth-Grade Band

Performs Nov. 10 at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.
Program: "Above and Beyond," composed by James Swearingen; "Psalm 42," arranged by Samuel R. Hazo; "Two Renaissance Dances," composed by Mekel Rogers; "Distant Thunder of the Sacred Heart," composed by Michael Sweeney; "The Golden Eagle March," composed by John Edmondson.
Rehearsal concert is 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, BRCC.
To donate, call the school at 828.697.4800.

"Start at (measure) 26," he says. "Twenty-six and now and ready and go ..."
Gudger hears a few rough spots. That's what practice is for.
In two months, the 57 members of the eighth grade band will perform five pieces at the North Carolina Music Educators Association Conference at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem.
"I think it's going well," Gudger said later on Friday. "It's just that we're trying to nail down the nuts and bolts of things right now. We're having a lot of extra rehearsals and we're having sectionals."
To apply for the honor, Gudger had to send three letters of recommendation from someone in the scholastic band field. "I also had to turn in a recording of the performance that we did at our festival last spring and we were chosen," he said.
The music teachers association notified the school of the honor at the end of the school year last spring.
"They were so excited because we had gotten the letter from our state president congratulating us on the fact that we'd been chosen to play," he said. Gudger asked principal Jenny Moreno to come down to the class, then seventh graders. She stood before them and read the letter.
"They were just really excited that they had been chosen for this opportunity," he said. "The high school band has had this opportunity — two times under Mr. (Jim) Stokes and two times under Ms. Shelton. This is our first time for the middle school and it's such a huge opportunity to perform all the music. All the music educators from across the state will all be there. We're also the only middle school band that will be playing at this convention."
A native of Asheville, Gudger received his undergraduate degree from Mars Hill and masters degree from Gardner-Webb University. He taught high school for 14 years in Wilmington and is in his 15th year as band director at HMS.


Band seeks donations

The band needs money to make the trip.
The School Board no longer pays for out-of-town band trips, so Gudger and a parent group are trying to $5,000 to cover expenses. The boys and girls must pay $51 each, which covers an overnight hotel stay, tuxedo shirt and Bearcat red bowtie and cummerbund. That leaves cost of travel and food.
Sponsorships are $25 for individuals and $50 and $100 for businesses — although the band is happy to take bigger checks.
The band is performing a rehearsal concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Blue Ridge Conference Hall at BRCC. There is no admission but the band would appreciate donations.