Northwest and Wheelersburg concert bands receive superior ratings


By Darian Gillette - [email protected]



Wheelersburg High School Concert Band at OMEA Large Group Adjuidicated Event.

Wheelersburg High School Concert Band at OMEA Large Group Adjuidicated Event.


Submitted Photo

Northwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event.


Darian Gillette

Northwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event.


Darian Gillette

SCIOTO — Northwest and Wheelersburg High School Concert Bands received straight superior ratings at OMEA Large Group Adjudicated Event.

OMEA ratings range from one through five, one being superior and five being poor. Three judge ratings make up the official rating for the band’s overall score. Northwest and Wheelersburg both received ones from all three judges.

“It was really great,” said Mallory Scaife, Wheelersburg Band Director. “It was awesome to kind of have that rating come from a panel of judges from OMEA, especially after everything the band has gone through in the past three or four years.”

Scaife has been directing at Wheelersburg for three years and said they have really had to rebuild the program.

“When things went down, the program was really, really small three years ago and we were nowhere near in a position to go to contest until this year,” said Scaife. “The students have worked so hard to get to this point, they’ve improved so much and I really thought they deserved it.”

Wheelersburg concert band consists of 23 students and 40 students in the marching band.

“It’s a pretty small group still, but the exciting thing is next year we’re looking at about 50 to 60 students in marching band, so it’s been a slow process trying to get it back up to where it was several years ago, but that process obviously takes time, so that’s what we are working on,” said Scaife.

Scaife said the students were very excited to see they received a superior rating.

“I took them out where they post the rating and the lady came out and wrote the number on the poster and one of the kids saw it but it took them a second to realize what it was but when they realized they were all screaming and cheering and as a director it was awesome to see,” said Scaife. “They prepared so much for that performance.”

Wheelersburg went class D due to having small instrumentation.

In concert band, class is determined by the difficulty of the music.

“Musically, we were in a place where we could go to contest, but we just don’t have the instrumentation to go class C,” said Scaife.

Wheelersburg decided to not go to the OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event, but Scaife did say OMEA Large Group was an excellent learning experience.

“That was my first time ever taking a group to contest, but I would do it again for sure just because it was very educational for me as a director and the students as well,” said Scaife. “It gives them something to work towards and gives them a goal.”

Scaife said the students truly work hard.

“I know people say ‘oh you’re a good director, you’re getting them there,’ but honestly, the kids know where they come from and I think they’re working extra hard to prove themselves because they know they have come a long way and they’re a really awesome group of kids,” said Scaife.

Northwest Band Director, Christy Stephan, said the past two years were canceled because of COVID-19.

“Our juniors and seniors were the last to perform at the contest, so they were underclassmen last time we went,” said Stephan. “It’s new, getting out of their comfort zone to perform on a huge stage at the Vern Riffe Center, which is awesome to play at.”

Due to many students never having the experience to perform, the contest removed sight reading from the competition for this year only. Typically students would go into a room with a piece of music they have never played and have to play through the entire piece in a matter of minutes for a judge.

“Normally, we prepare three pieces of music for the judges, but this year we had to do two. Once we go to state, we have to add another piece,” said Stephan.

Stephan said in order to prepare for state, they have to be very diligent.

“Folks think you pick up an instrument and play whatever is there, but we’re looking for things like the balance of sound to listen how loud the percussion is compared to the woodwinds. You have to listen to tuning. It’s a huge art form. There’s a creative process behind it,” said Stephan.

Northwest concert band consists of 50 students, Director Christy Stephan and Assistant Director Callie Barnhouse.

Northwest will go to state April 23 at Gahanna Lincoln High School.

“We have to learn a whole new piece and continue to polish it because even though we got straight superior ratings does not mean it was perfect because it’s live music and I tell the kids all the time we have to make changes in the moment,” said Stephan. “We’re working to perfect it as much as possible, but by a landslide, all of the students chose to go to state.”

Stephan said she feels it’s awesome three female band directors received straight superior ratings.

“I don’t know Ms. Scaife very well, but in my workings with her through the county music festival, she’s got her stuff together. I’ve been here 16 years and she seems to have the right thought process, she puts the kids first and that’s the number one important thing is making sure the students are having a positive experience,” said Stephan.

Stephan said Northwest has been very supportive of their music program.

“Ever since Mr. Masscarie was here back in the ’90s, we’ve had a really strong tradition of success, but the pandemic really threatened that in a lot of ways and we’ve really tried to push and invite kids and maintain the traditions that we have here and we couldn’t do that without the support of the school, principals, parents, and our band boosters,” said Stephan.

Wheelersburg High School Concert Band at OMEA Large Group Adjuidicated Event.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_IMG_5621-Edit.jpgWheelersburg High School Concert Band at OMEA Large Group Adjuidicated Event. Submitted Photo

Northwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_IMG_1681.jpgNorthwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event. Darian Gillette

Northwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/03/web1_IMG_1690.jpgNorthwest High School Concert Band practicing for OMEA State Large Group Adjudicated Event. Darian Gillette

By Darian Gillette

[email protected]

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved