The Marion Junior and Senior High Band Programs enjoyed a historic two-day stretch at the Region IV Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association Region Concert Assessment held this week at Cabot High School.

On Monday (April 4), the Marion High School Symphonic Winds, under the direction of Mr. Monty Hill, performed a concert program for three judges, earning straight first division ratings based on their stage performance. The band also earned a first division rating in sight-reading, where they performed a composition they had never seen before for a judge.

These ratings, along with a first division rating at Region Marching Assessment back in October, earned the Marion High School Band the coveted ASBOA Sweepstakes Award. This marks the first time since 2017 for the Marion High School Band to earn this distinction.

Meanwhile, the Marion Junior High Eighth-Grade Band, under the direction of Mrs. Valerie Hill, performed at the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association Region Concert Assessment on Tuesday (April 5) and also earned straight first division ratings for their stage performance and sight-reading. The Marion eighth-graders were competing at their first-ever band competition as band members and also earned the ASBOA Sweepstakes Award -- just like their senior high counterparts. This marked the first time in 13 years for the Marion Junior High Band to earn this award.

A band is adjudicated in seven key areas at Concert Assessment, including tone quality, intonation, technique, precision, style, balance, and dynamics. A first division rating is characterized as superior, a second as excellent, a third as good, a fourth as fair, and a fifth as poor. Only Cabot had more than one overall superior rated band.

“Our music was difficult and so fun to play,” said senior Kendrick Blair. “Mr. Hill challenges us every day to become better as musicians. This year, our band made history and us as seniors we so happy to be part of that.”

Eighth-grader Abby Jackson added: “The band sounded amazing on stage and in sight-reading. We were all super nervous at our first contest, but Mrs. Hill helped us all play with confidence.”

You can hear these great Marion Bands in concert on at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28 in the Marion Performing Arts Center. Admission is free.

The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice (May 1 application deadline), visit or call 870-739-5100.