By: Tammy Curtis, Managing Editor

The Highland Band program has evolved every year, earning numerous marching and concert band Superior awards. Last April, the Highland Band won the Inaugural title of 4A State Concert Band Champions. Newly elected District Two State Representative Trey Steimel visited the Highland High School band on Feb. 24 to recognize CC their accomplishments. “When I think back to my high schooldays, which is a heck of a lot further back than I want to admit, I remember two things that I could not do, one was football and the other was band. Because of the dedication it takes out of summer, fall, winter and spring. So, for those of you all who take the time to spend using your talents to make the world a better place, we really appreciate that.”Steimel presented band directors Greg and Hope Bruner, and Faith Serna with citations and house resolutions read on the floor of the House of Representatives on Feb. 23 in Little Rock. “The only people who put more time into this than the band is the directors and the staff who helps you all,” he said. He also presented Arkansas and United States flags that were flown over the capital to Highland Superintendent Jeremy Lewis. Steimel said he wanted to recognize the accomplishment the band and having this recognized. He explained “This is the reason I got into it, I wanted to give back to the communities that I represent. That is the easiest part of this job and the best. That is truly what I love most,” Steimel said. When he is not in Little Rock during the recent session, Steimel has spent a great deal of time in the Sharp an Fulton County areas, last week presenting the award to the Mam-moth Spring Spelling Bee Winner. The band, which had many accomplishments last year, with the most meritorious being the state title, they also won several marching competitions and were ranked Superior. The band was able to accomplish this after being masked for two years during the pandemic. Bruner spoke in an earlier interview with the SRC of the in-credible obstacles the band has overcome and still came out ontop as state champions. “We started getting ready right in the middle of the big Omicron outbreak and winter outbreak and missed all those weeks of school in there and rehearsals. We were missing up to 25 percent of our kids for several weeks.” He said they went to Region Concert assessment the second week of March at Jonesboro High School where they received all Superior ratings. The Rebel Band also got a Superior rating insight reading. This is a competition, where musicians go into a room and study the sheet music for seven minutes before performing the piece. By getting superior ratings in all facets of the program, they were able to advance to the state competition. Bruner explained the competition and qualifications to be able to compete with the best of the best bands in the state in this prestigious competition. “You have to make a Division One Superior or a Division Two Excellent rating at Regions to go on to State Concert Con-test. Most of the bands that were there have earned Superior Ratings and earned the right to be there too,” Greg explained. At the contest, the band is evaluated on their performance of three pieces of mu-sic. This includes a traditional march and two additional pieces that they select from preapproved lists from the state and Texas band associations. “Our classification has to play a certain grade level of music. We played well above the requirements of the rubric. We have to play a grade two but we played a three and four. ”They are then given a grade on a scale of 1-100 by the judges. Highland came out on top, narrowly edging out the Re-serve with a total score of 92.619 to their 92.333. This is certainly something to be honored for. Besides the bragging rights, the band received rings for the designation.