The Fifth Grade Band is designed to be an instructional class rather than a performance ensemble. The students are introduced to the woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments, and much time is spent in helping the student choose the instrument best suited for him/her. The course focuses upon basic fundamentals of music and playing skills. Although performing is not a primary objective, the Fifth Grade Band performs on the Grand Parents Day program each spring.
The Sixth Grade Intermediate Band is designed as an instructional class rather than as a performance ensemble. The focus of this course is upon instrumental fundamentals and playing skills and upon music theory fundamentals and even composition. Although performing is not the primary objective of this group, the students do have several performance opportunities both individually and as an ensemble. The sixth-grade students participate in Elementary and Middle School District Honor Bands, Instrumental Solo and Ensemble Festival, and perform for various school assemblies.
Our Symphonic Band begins rehearsals in October and remains active throughout the remainder of the school year. This ensemble has received numerous Superior Ratings at the GMEA Festivals, as well as other Concert Festival events. Among the awards received by this ensemble is a Sweepstakes Award for the Music Showcase Festival in Atlanta and the coveted Grand Sweepstakes Award, which is a national award given to the band that received the highest score at any of the Music Showcase Festival events for that year. Many individual members of the Symphonic Band are selected each year for participation in the GMEA District Honor Band, The District Honor Jazz Band, the South Region Honor Band, the University of Georgia “JanFest” Band, and the Georgia All State Band.
The "Spirit of Stratford" begins rehearsal in the summer with a two-week camp, during which time the instrumentalists and color guard members learn the marching show. The ensemble performs at half-time at the varsity football games and competes in Marching Band Festivals/Competitions. The band and color guard consistently receives superior ratings and has received numerous Sweepstakes Awards for straight superior ratings in all captions at competitions.
The study of music theory is a rite of passage for all serious students of music. Initially our purpose in class is to address the basic musical fundamentals in a systematic way to aid in gaining fluency and filling any gaps in each student’s knowledge. The ultimate goal of the course is to develop the ability to recognize, understand, and describe the basic materials and processes of music that are heard or presented in a score. The achievement of this goal will be attained by integrated approaches to the development of aural skills through listening exercises, sight-singing skills through performance exercises, written skills through notation exercises, compositional skills through creative exercises, and analytical skills through music analysis. As the class works to understand how music is put together, the students also discover fun, excitement and reward in the serious study of the art of music. Listening to, playing, and writing music can be some of the most enjoyable experiences one will ever have.
Our chorus is offered to all sixth, seventh, and eighth graders. In chorus we work on vocal production and the skills necessary for achieving a blended choral sound. We’ll stretch, breathe, vocalize and then, of course, we’ll sing! We begin, as befits a beginning, in unison. As that skill is mastered (no small feat!), we shall move on to two and perhaps even three-part music. This class is more about building skills no matter what your current level of expertise. Throughout the year we give performances at local nursing homes and we sing for special school functions.
Our ensemble is open to all students in the ninth through twelfth grades. Choral work begins with the basics of good vocal health, proper tone production, choral blending, and unison singing. Daily warm-ups are fun and worthwhile for exercising, blending, and for developing artistic musicality. We steadily progress into two-, three-, and four-part music. The class literature choices are challenging and meaningful. Our endeavors provide learning opportunities as well as exciting adventures into the vast repertoire of choral music. Throughout the year we give performances at community events and local nursing homes. Our ensemble also sings for special school functions.