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The Beginning Band at Sylvan Hills Middle School is very fortunate to be able to have classes with instruments that are alike. This year we have two Beginning Woodwind classes, two Beginning Brass classes and a Beginning Percussion class. All of the students learned how to read music in August and started playing their first notes in September. The Beginning Band classes are spread out throughout the day, so we schedule one afternoon practice together before their concerts.
The 7th grade Intermediate Band is so large, it is split into three class periods. The 7th grade band students were able to audition for All-Region band. We had two 7th graders named to the All-Region Band. The Intermediate Band also went to their first football game with the High School Band this fall. The band students performed with around 300 band students at the game!
The 8th grade Advanced Band meets together with all instruments. The Advanced Band performed at multiple football games this fall. This included marching during halftime of a freshmen football game. The Advanced Band played their Holiday Concerts at the local elementary schools. The 8th grade Advanced Band also performed for Parent Nigh this fall. There were six Advanced Band students named to the All-Region Band this year. The band will perform for their first Concert Assessment in March where they are judged as a band on how well they play four pieces of music. The Advanced Band has been very successful this year!
HIGH SCHOOL BAND
Our high school band currently consists of 9th-12th grade band members. The band performs at football games and pep rallies throughout the year in addition to marching competitions and concert assessment. This year the high school band had five students and one alternate named to the All-Region band, as well as two alternates to the All-Region Jazz Band. Some of these students are eligible to audition for the All-State Band in February.
BAND AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
We currently have former Sylvan Hills Band students that have received Band scholarships and are attending Arkansas State University, Henderson State University and the University of Central Arkansas.
SOLO & ENSEMBLE
All band students in the 6-12 grades are able to perform for a judge at Solo and Ensemble in April. This event is open to all bands in our region.
BAND & OTHER ELECTIVES
We are very excited that our students are able to take Band as well as other electives. We currently have students that are in the Choir, on the Spirit Team and all of our school’s competitive sport teams including Basketball, Volleyball, Football and Track.
In the past, if a student scores Basic or Below Basic on the ACTAAP/Benchmark exam, there was a possibility that they would have to take an additional Math or English class to improve their test scores. We are not sure if that will be in place with the new PARCC testing this year. Please encourage your student to do their very best on the exams. Encourage early bed times and breakfast during testing.
BAND BOOSTER PROGRAM
The Sylvan Hills Band is supported by our Band Booster program. The Band Boosters run the football concession stand and middle school basketball concession stand. There is not a joining fee to become a Band Booster. Simply support the Band by coming to meetings and helping out at the concession stand. (PCSSD requires a background check for parent volunteers.)
ABOUT THE DIRECTORS
Kris Smith is in her nineteenth year of teaching at Sylvan Hills. Mrs. Smith currently teaches the beginning flutes and clarinets, the intermediate woodwind and percussion class, directs the 8th grade band and assists Mr. Bailey with the high school band. She is a 1992 graduate of Sylvan Hills High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education from Henderson State University in 1997. She is currently pursuing her MSE in Technology Leadership from Henderson State University. She is a former percussionist of the Little Rock Wind Symphony and has performed with the South Arkansas Symphony. She and her husband, Keith, have two sons, Grant and Trent. Both Grant and Trent play trumpet in the Sylvan Hills Bands.
Mario Palomino is in his second year of teaching and his first year at Sylvan Hills. Mr. Palomino currently teaches two sections of intermediate band, teaches beginning clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, horns, baritones and tubas. He assists with the high school band and codirects the high school concert band. Mr. Palomino is a 2008 graduate of Fayetteville High School-East. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Arkansas in 2014. He enjoys salsa dancing in his spare time.
Mark Bailey is in his eighteenth year of teaching and his tenth year at Sylvan Hills. Mr. Bailey currently assists Mrs. Smith with the 8th grade band and directs the Sylvan Hills High School Band and Jazz Band. He is a 1993 graduate of North Pulaski High School. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Instrumental Music Education from Henderson State University in 1998. He became a National Board Certified teacher in 2010. He earned his Masters of Science in Education from Arkansas State University in 2011. He plays trombone in the Ozark Point Brass Quintet and is a former member of the Little Rock Wind Symphony. He has also performed with the South Arkansas Symphony, Pine Bluff Symphony and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife, Susan Kay, have a grown daughter, Morgan.