Owensboro Public Schools had a record-breaking number of students earn their way to the KMEA (Kentucky Music Educators Association) All-State Band this year.
In fact, of the nine western Kentucky students recognized as All-State band members, five of them came from the OPS district.
Band Director Abe Barr said it’s been a special year for the 2019-2020 Owensboro High School band, which was named grand champion at two different competitions and placed second at the Mid-States Regional competition this season.
Barr, one of four band directors at OPS who splits his time between the middle and high school teams, said Owensboro Middle School was also selected to perform at KMEA this year, which is one of the highest honors given to middle school bands in Kentucky.
“We’ve just been growing every year in numbers and goals. The [high school] class we had this year was really special because they were in sixth grade when I started working here,” Barr said. “A lot of them started their progress from the beginning.”
Barr credits OPS’ band success to having four directors who are able to collaborate and work together at both the middle school and high school levels.
“Then we have consistency throughout the entire program,” he said. “I think what we’re doing at OPS is the definition of teamwork.”
OPS Board Chair Jeremy Edge attended this year’s KMEA competition and called OHS the best band he’d ever seen perform.
“They got a standing ovation and that was from people who really know their music,” he said.
The following OPS seniors were named to the KMEA All-State Band:
Anastasia Winston; clarinet
Kaitlyn Cooper; trumpet
Zane Rose; trumpet
John Barker; french horn
Jasmine Sturgeon; percussion