The challenges of the post-pandemic fall of 2020 were no match for determination of the members of the Chipley High School “Spirit of the Tiger” Band.
Not only does the band entertain at halftime and cheer on the Tigers at games well into the post season, but the band also earned superior ratings at each event they competed at. This includes a record 28 consecutive Superior Ratings at Florida Bandmasters Association (FBA) District Marching Assessment.
The time of year following football season is often thought of as the “off season” for the CHS Band. However, the winter months have been equally as busy for the student musicians of the Chipley High School “Spirit of the Tiger” Band. Several members of the band have recently been recognized for their excellence in musicianship.
Senior French horn player Jenny Davenport was named to the FBA All-State Honors Band which was hosted by the City of Tampa in January. With the financial help of the Chipley Band Boosters, Jenny traveled to Tampa to rehearse and perform with this prestigious 100-member group in early January 2022.
Six members of the “Spirit of the Tiger” Band were selected for the Troy University Southeastern United States Honor Bands in February, where they rehearsed for two days and presented a final concert. Representing CHS were: Seth Abbott, bassoon; Nathanael Banta, baritone saxophone; Jenny Davenport, French horn; Gaston Hagan, trombone; Morgan Hess, trombone; and Haydn Sapp, alto saxophone. Banda and Davenport auditioned for and received Band scholarship offers from Troy University.
CHS had several students participate in the FBA District Solo & Ensemble Assessments during the spring months. Receiving Superior Ratings at Both district and state levels were: Tristan Brett, trumpet solo; Jenny Davenport, French horn solo; Madison Hayes, clarinet solo; Christian Hildebrand, alto saxophone solo; and Harrison Sapp, alto saxophone. Receiving Superiors at District were: CHS Dance Ensemble (Lorna Beck, Jasmine Gawronski, Gretchen Green, Kaitlin Thompson, Cary Vanderbrink); CHS Percussion Ensemble (Cass Dillard, Lacey Grantham, Grace Futch, Andrew Hubbs, Caleb Phillips, Brayden Price, Chad Steverson, Jayce Strickland, Lucas Tagert, Jackson Wall, Ethan Wilson)CHS Trombone Quartet (Connor Bratcher, Gaston Hagan, Morgan Hess, Alitzel Sapp), Max Martin, trumpet solo; Cy Pettis, euphonium solo; Haydn Sapp, alto saxophone solo; Megan Shipes, bass clarinet solo; and Ada Ybarra, piano solo.
2022 also heralded the return of the long-running All-District Small Schools Honor Band, hosted by CHS and made up of 85 students from programs in Holmes, Jackson, Walton and Washington counties. Following a day-long rehearsal with guest conductor and clinician Tony Whetstone from Troy, Alabama, the group presented a concert in the CHS Auditorium. Representing Chipley High School in the ensemble were Isaac Branham, Tristan Brett, Sayler Chaithaweep, Jenny Davenport, Madison Hayes, Gaston Hagan, Morgan Hess, Cherise McCorvey, Max Martin, Ethan Parker, Harrison Sapp, Haydn Sapp, and Jayce Strickland.
March saw the return of the annual FBA District Concert Band Music Performance Assessment (MPA). The Chipley Symphonic Band performed “Big Four March,” “A Hymnsong of Phillip Bliss,” and “Songs of Old Kentucky” on stage and then sightread a march and overture. The band received all Superior Ratings and qualified for State Concert Assessment. Their state performance is slated for 2:30pm on Wednesday, April 27 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville.
“The drive and passion that these students have for bettering themselves is what makes this band program so successful,” said Band Director Richard Davenport. “It is an honor to make music with them every day. they make the world so much brighter through their love of music.” Davenport is in his 23rd year as CHS Band Director.
In addition to preparing for state, the band is also working toward its annual Spring Band Concert on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30pm in the CHS Auditorium. Admission is free and will be followed by the Band Honors and Awards presentation.