Flathead band wins national honor

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 The Flathead High School band has been awarded the National Band Association’s Division of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award for High School Bands.

Flathead was one of eight national finalists and the only band from the Northwestern Division.

Flathead band director Allen Slater said he was pleased that the band was recognized at this level.

“It is a tribute to the hard work and dedication to excellence that the students have demonstrated over several years and in so many categories to earn this recognition,” Slater said. “There are some fantastic band programs in the United States and I am honored to have our school be considered a Blue Ribbon program.”

The award recognizes quality programs of all levels. Band programs and educators that challenge students and have reached a high level of excellence are regionally and nationally honored.

Flathead Activities Director Bryce Wilson said the band and Slater should be commended for the outstanding achievement.

“Flathead High activities has focused on dedication and hard work,” Wilson said. “The band and director Allen Slater being recognized as a Blue Ribbon program is the reward for countless hours of practice.”

High school band directors who apply for the award have to submit representative recordings of their concert bands, jazz ensembles and chamber ensembles, plus video performances of their marching bands. Scoring sheets from district and state level band festival judges also are submitted along with documentation of honors and awards the band program has received in the recent past as well as recommendations from respected national level band directors.

Statistics and information about the community, the band program itself and the school district are another requirement.  

This information goes through a thorough screening process. Submissions are screened by the state chairperson for the National Band Association who then sends his or her recommendations to a division chair, who represents anywhere from six to twelve states.  

A committee of band directors then review applications at the division level and send recommendations to a board of directors who make the final selections.  

 The National Band Association includes about 3,000 band directors representing elementary, middle and high school, collegiate, military, community and professional band programs.

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