Excitement With AHS Cougar Band

Summer Symposium Breeds Excitement With AHS Cougar Band
Posted on 07/24/2023

LOW MOOR — Six Alleghany High School band students recently participated in a valuable educational experience by attending a popular summer symposium at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.

The Summer Symposium for Marching Arts, which is similar to a summer band camp, was held July 9-13. The event included multiple tracks (specialty areas) for students who are drum majors, percussionists, and color guard members. Students chose the track they participated in. This year’s symposium even offered a track for band boosters.

Held at the Western Carolina campus since the late 1990s, the symposium typically attracts hundreds of band students from across the nation.  The symposium was initially designed to be a leadership initiative for high school band students. It was later expanded to involve band directors and students. It now provides students with an opportunity to gain valuable experience by performing multiple music pieces under the tutelage of highly-skilled musicians who are called clinicians. The clinicians listen to the performers and help them correct flaws in their techniques. 

AHS students who attended this year’s symposium were Gavin Spinks, Landon Mullikin, Joey Thomas, A. J. Loan, Cole Brown, and Emma Linkenhoker. They were accompanied by AHS Marching Band Director Adam Eggleston, Assistant Director Benjamin Snedegar, and Color Guard Instructor Laura DeSilvey.

“The students learned a lot under the instruction of renowned clinicians, met new friends from across the country, and left geared up and excited to start the Fall Marching Season at home. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students. I am encouraged for the future of the program by seeing the growth these students made in just a few days,” Eggleston said.

Eggleston, Snedegar, and DeSilvey also benefited by receiving professional development through concurrent experiences specifically designed for directors.

The symposium is hosted by Western Carolina’s march band, which is known as the “Pride of the Mountains.” In 2009, Western Carolina University’s Pride of the Mountains Marching Band was awarded the Sudler Trophy, the nation’s highest and most-coveted award for college and university marching bands. The Sudler Trophy has been called the Heisman Trophy of the collegiate marching band world. James Madison University’s Marching Dukes won the trophy in 1994.

“We believe the students who went to the summer symposium will play a crucial role this season by bringing the same excitement and energy they experienced at WCU for the Marching Arts back to AHS,” Snedegar said.

Organizers of the WCU symposium aim to inspire band teachers and students to share their experiences with students at their schools.  

“Summer symposium opened up new opportunities for these students and it taught them techniques and skills they can use from now on in their marching band career. We are super excited for this season as these participants bring back what they have learned to their peers,”  DeSilvey said.

A video of a celebration that was held at the conclusion of the summer symposium can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/WCUPotM. The celebration included members of the AHS Marching Band.

Alleghany Highlands Public Schools was created through the July 2022 merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school division serves approximately 2,700 students and it is jointly funded by Alleghany County and the City of Covington.

When schools open for the 2023-2024 academic year on Aug. 23, students in grades 9-12 will attend Alleghany High School. The joint high school will be part of the full consolidation of AHPS schools this fall. Covington Middle School (the former Covington High School) will house students in grades 6-8.

AHPS news and events are regularly updated on Facebook at AHPublicSchool and on the division website www.ahps.k12.va.us.


Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.