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CHS Band Receives all Superior Ratings at LMEA Marching Band Assessment

The Chalmette High School Band has been recognized by the Louisiana Music Educators Association for the second consecutive year with straight 1's or Superior ratings in all four categories being judged at the annual Marching Band Assessment.  Those four categories included Drum Major, Charmers, Percussion and Band.

Band director Jason Rusk noted that this accomplishment is a significant one for many reasons.

“Before last year, the last time the band got straight 1's was back in 1993 and now we're 2 in a row,” Rusk said. “I think so many things have contributed to our success at the LMEA Marching Band Assessment. Learning what the judges want to see over the years has helped shape and mold how we rehearse and prepare for such a high level of performance.”

Rusk said organizing the field show requires a great deal of commitment and dedication of the band members.

“Members attend summer rehearsals, band camp, and practice through the end of October. It takes months of work to make a 10 minute show,” Rusk said. “When you put that kind of time and effort into something, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world to be successful and reach that ultimate goal of all Superiors.”

Rusk also noted how important parental involvement and commitment is to the success of his program.

“Their help and assistance takes our group to a higher level by taking care of the students and allowing them to focus on their job in the band,” Rusk said.

In addition to the band’s success as a whole, several members of the band were also honored on an individual level for their talents.  Junior tuba player Donald Mckinnies won second chair tuba in the LMEA All-State concert band following a rigorous two-round audition process against students from assorted public and private schools in St. Bernard, New Orleans, Jefferson, and Plaquemines parishes.

Donald took first place in the first round, earning a spot to compete in Lafayette against all the winners in the entire state of Louisiana.  

“Donald was the highest chair in our district, so he will be the first chair tuba player in the LMEA District 6 Senior High Honor Band in January, 2019,” Rusk said.

Three other students from CHS were also invited to participate in the LMEA District 6 Honor Band.  Those students are Chobie Chan, clarinet; Grace Abba, bass clarinet; and Christopher duBois, French horn.

Rusk said that now the band’s focus will shift to Mardi Gras season and preparing for the five parades they will march in 2019.  Those parades include Excalibur, Nemesis, Druids, Centurions and Thoth. You can also catch the CHS Brass Band in Tucks.

Rusk said the band has had a history of success during the Mardi Gras season as well,

“The marching band has consistently placed in the top two in the Metairie competition parades the past few years and they are ready for another successful marching season.”

After marching in Thoth, the band's final parade, they will be heading to Orlando to march in the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade which will lead off the daytime parade through the Magic Kingdom, finishing down Main Street USA. The band will be in Orlando from March 3 to March 10, 2019 and you can see them march in the Magic Kingdom on Mardi Gras Day - Tuesday, March 4, 2019 at 2:30pm.