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Band performs for fifth time at statewide music conference

The North Rockford Middle School eighth grade band was one of two middle schools in Michigan selected to perform in a prestigious conference for music educators statewide. The 89-member band played Jan. 17 for the 15th Annual Michigan Music Conference, held at DeVos Place. 

Performing in DeVos Hall, the band, under the direction of Cullen McCarthy, played a 45-minute concert. Two of its six selections were directed by guest conductors: former Rockford High School band director C. David Bass and current director Brian Phillips. 

The Lowell Middle School eighth grade string orchestra and the Byron Center High School Jazz Orchestra also performed at the conference. The Jenison Junior High School eighth grade band was the only other middle school band to perform. 

Put on by the Michigan Music Education Association, the conference provides professional development and musical experiences to support educators and their students. This year’s event featured Grammy Award-winning singer Bobby McFerrin.

It was the fifth time the NRMS band was chosen to perform, based on blind auditions, McCarthy said. 

“The students performed at the highest level possible,” McCarthy said. “They did not sound like a middle school band. They sounded like a fine high school band and performed with emotion and precision. I am so proud of all of their hard work and commitment to the music and to excellence.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers Rockford and Grand Rapids. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


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