Chelsea bands earn top marks at State MPA

The Chelsea High School and Middle School bands scored top marks at the State Musical Performance Assessment earlier this month. (Contributed)

The Chelsea High School and Middle School bands scored top marks at the State Musical Performance Assessment earlier this month. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

CHELSEA—Chelsea High School and Middle School band members are “on cloud nine” after outstanding performances at the State Musical Performance Assessment earlier this month, CHHS Director of Bands Dane Lawley said.

The State MPA is an annual comprehensive evaluation of a band’s ability, from sight-reading to performance quality. Bands across the state are observed and scored by experienced directors.

“This is big, it’s our biggest event of (the year),” Lawley said. “(It’s) just like you’re going into an AP exam or an ACT exam.”

Each band performs a total of three pieces on stage in front of judges. Two pieces are selected and prepared ahead of time, while a third is given to the band on performance day. The judges evaluate bands based on a rubric, Lawley said.

The Chelsea bands are part of District 4, which includes stiff competition from bands in both Shelby and Jefferson counties, Lawley said.

“District 4… has the most bands,” Lawley said, noting the normally single day State MPA is stretched to three days to include all the bands in the district.

The CHHS Concert Band and CHMS Seventh and Eighth Grade Band both scored state superior ratings and the CHHS Wind Ensemble received a superior rating with distinction, Lawley said.

“(The judges) just don’t hand those (scores) out, you have to earn them,” Lawley said. “It says (our) program is where it needs to be.”

Lawley highlighted the CHMS band program under the direction of Deana Rizzo, noting the quality of the program serves as a strong feeder into the high school band program.

“They did well, I’m proud of them,” Lawley said of the high school and middle school bands. “We’re all on cloud nine here in Chelsea.”