Clovis music groups receive top honors

Courtesy photo The Marshall Middle School choir performed at Christmas. The group shown here is made up of about 190 students, Marshall Choir Director Lori Salmon said.

Liliana Castillo

Two Clovis Municipal Schools musical groups received top honors from the New Mexico Music Educators Association, a first for both schools.

The Marshall Middle School choir was selected as the 2011-2012 New Mexico Music Educators All-State Honor Choir. The group is directed by Lori Salmon.

The Clovis High School Freshman Academy Band was selected as the 2011-2012 New Mexico Music Educators All-State Honor Band. The band is directed by Travis Pruitt.

The district as a whole received the “award of distinction,” which is presented to an outstanding school district which has demonstrated support for and commitment to high-quality music education programs.

The groups will perform at the 2012 New Mexico Educators Association State Conference, Jan. 4-7 at the University of New Mexico. The district will receive the “award of distinction” Jan. 5 at that conference.

CMS Music Director Alan Dropps said this is the second year the NMMEA has given the “award of distinction.”

“The criteria they look at is financial support (to the music programs) from the district, community support and the success of the programs,” he said.

Dropps said factors he believe contributed to the district winning the award are: Certified music teachers at each level districtwide, all performing groups competing at the highest level possible and CMS groups having earned several awards at the regional, state and national levels.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” Dropps said. “Clovis has always supported its music departments. Even in tough economic times, the district and community continue to do so, knowing that music is an important part of a well-rounded education.”

Pruitt said there were 67 students in the award-winning band.

“I’m really proud of the kids and all their hard work this year,” Pruitt said. “It’s great for them to be honored.”

Pruitt said the students made extra time for practice and that their dedication paid off.

Pruitt has been the band director as the Freshman Academy since its inception three years ago.

Salmon said the mixed choir, including both boys and girls, won the award. The choir is made up of 75 seventh- and eighth-graders.

“The kids worked very hard for that,” she said.

Salmon will return for her third year as Marshall’s music teacher in August. She is a 1981 graduate of Clovis High School and was an all-state choir student herself.

She said she and her students didn’t do anything different last year from previous years.

“I just work them hard, I really do, and they work hard,” she said. “This rewards their hard work.”

Salmon said the groups audition for all-state by submitting three songs on a CD to the NMMEA. Salmon said the choir sent in a recording from their award-winning performance at the Greater Southwest Music Festival in Lubbock.