With 215 students in a surging band program, director asks school board for a third director

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

BERRYVILLE -- A request for a third band director for the award-winning Berryville Bobcat Band was broached when the Berryville Board of Education met last week.

Band Director Daniel Hodge made the request, saying there are 75 very talented students in the high school program, another 75 "gung-ho" students in the junior high band, and 65 beginning students.

It was a perfect time for a new building, and he was very appreciative, Hodge noted, but with the size of the program, there were now students falling through the cracks.

Individual musicianship, after school lessons, and auditions for All-State, a "shoe-in" for college opportunities, are all priorities, Hodge said, noting that four of BHS's band students made All-State out of 100 or so statewide.

He and assistant band director Julius Stevens and the students love to compete, enjoy the fruits of their work, and Hodge said he wanted to give the board members "a glimpse of what we experience during the marching season, going head-to-head with bigger schools."

His applause-drawing video presentation showing clips from the band's many wins was followed by his introduction of several top band students, including Chris Flores and Brittany Campbell.

Flores, he said, was invited to join one of the world's most exclusive marching musical units -- Phantom Regiment, with Division I Drum Crops International. Flores began his summer tour in May, a tour that included performances in cities such as Dallas, Atlanta, San Antonio, Phoenix, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Diego, Columbia and Pasadena -- where it culminated at the 2007 World Championships at the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Brittany Campbell was accepted by audition to attend Interlochen Summer Arts Camp in Interlochen, Mich., where more than 2,100 of the world's most talented and motivated young people live, learn, and perform with an unparalleled group of peers and educators each summer.

The opportunity will propel her to compete on a national level and pave the way toward a scholarship to one of the nation's finest music schools.

"If there is one thing, more than anything," Hodge concluded, "is to isolate instruction and spend as much time with each individual as we used to do. Now, we are asking the board for a third person to go with the new building."

In other business at last week's meeting, board members accepted the annual report to the public after hearing from administrators. Three of the four commented on the ongoing construction projects at their schools.

K-3 Principal Teresa Wright said there have been some adjustments because the playground area had been moved and other outdoor physical education activities were limited because of the construction around her building.

Shelly Holman said there were transportation difficulties the first week of school at the 4-5 building because of construction, but it had since worked out.

"We're surrounded by dirt," Middle School Principal Matt Summers said. "The construction guys have been outstanding to work with." According to Summers, the ongoing construction is interesting for all to watch.

Board members also approved fundraiser requests. The band will be selling $5 tickets for a chance to win a new truck from Dodge, and the drama department will be selling candles, magazines, T-shirts and ads.

A resignation was accepted from part-time school nurse Barbara Wood, and the board agreed to move Kristy Hulse, part-time school nurse, to a full time position.

The board hired Christy Skelton and John McClellan as bus drivers, and agreed to move Judy Bohannon to a 10- month contract, and Trish Conner to an 11-month contract and to change her title to Math Coach/Test Coordinator.

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