Cuthbertson High School opened its doors to students on August 25, 2009. Since that time, the Cuthbertson instrumental music program has challenged students to follow a musical “Journey of Excellence.” During this time, the high school program has grown from an inaugural class of 29 students to over 150, and currently fields a marching band of over 130 members. The High School instrumental music program supports two Concert bands, a Jazz band, an Indoor Percussion ensemble, a Winterguard unit, the “Mighty Marching Cavalier” Marching band, and 2 innovative rock bands.
The Cuthbertson band program, under the direction of directors Todd and Katie Ebert consists of over 450 students in grades 6-12. The high school “Blue Note Winds” have received superior ratings at North Carolina state MPA events each year since the school opened. In 2011, the Western Carolina University Wind Ensemble, Cullowhee, NC, chose Cuthbertson High School as a selected stop on its high school band recruitment tour. In 2012 the concert band commissioned a new work of music titled “Remembrance”, which they will premiere at the 2012 state convention. The Mighty Marching Cavaliers have competed in three states and participated in Bands of America regional events. In 2011 the marching Cavaliers were invited to perform in the Thanksgiving Day Parade of Bands at the Walt Disney World® Resort.
The middle school program has grown to a current enrollment of approximately 300 music students and features three concert bands, a jazz band, optional participation in the high school ‘Mighty Marching Cavalier’ marching band (open to 8th grade students) and the Winterguard (open to 7th and 8th grade students). Over the past three years a number of additional opportunities for the middle school instrumental music program have been created. A large number of middle school students participate in the University of Georgia Midfest Honor Band clinic as well as the district Solo and Ensemble Festival. Currently the middle school offers a 7th and 8th grade jazz club and a combined flag club of over 45 members, which teaches the basics of flag and dance technique.
The Cuthbertson Band program is a nationally recognized Program of Excellence. The band has been recognized as a feature band at the Music for All National Concert Band Festival, the Percy Grainger Festival, and has performed by invitation at both the University of Georgia Janfest clinic and the University of South Carolina Honor Band Clinic. The band has also performing by invitation at the North Carolina Music Educators state convention twice. In 2015 the band was recognized by the National band Association as the Southern Division Blue Ribbon of Excellence award for 2015/16 and has been twice named as a Support Music Merit award winner as a Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants.
The Cuthbertson band program has performed concerts with the Western Carolina Wind Ensemble, the Carolina’s Wind Symphony, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as hosting University directors from 4 states into their band room for clinics with students. The students of the program are actively engaged in honor bands across three states as well as the local, district, and state level honor bands on North Carolina. The Mighty marching cavaliers have performed by invitation at the Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Day Parade of Bands, have been a bands of America Regional Finalist band, a USBands Grand Champion Band, and in 2016 will travel by invitation to perform in Hawaii. The Hawaii performance will be in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and will be a cultural exchange with the Cuthbertson band joining with a band from Japan in joint performance with composer Robert W. Smith.
Students of the Cuthbertson instrumental program are active participants in many additional performing opportunities. Band students are encouraged to participate in honor bands and university sponsored clinic bands. Cuthbertson Band students have been accepted to honor bands on University campuses in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Students are also active participants in North Carolina honor bands at the county, district, and state level.
Cuthbertson Middle School opened its doors to students in August 2009. Since then, the instrumental music program has challenged students to pursue a musical journey of excellence. Now in its ninth academic year, the instrumental music program continues to experience success as middle school concert bands have consistently earned superior ratings at local, district and regional music festivals. The program has grown to an enrollment of approximately 340 music students who participate in grade level concert bands and a jazz band. Eighth grade students may participate in Cuthbertson High School’s Mighty Marching Cavalier marching band while students in grades 6-8 may join the cadet winter guard or the percussion ensemble.
Over the past nine years, the instrumental music program has provided students a number of opportunities, and students participate yearly in the University of Georgia MidFest Honor Band clinic, the Armstrong State University Winterfest clinic, the UNCG Carolina Band clinic, All County Band, District Honor Band, All State Honors Band, and the District Solo and Ensemble Festival. In addition, Cuthbertson Middle School students have created a “tone row” club to learn basic music theory concepts and assist annually in the recruitment of local fifth graders to the band program through special performances. Students also participate in the “Free Melodies” program, developed by one of our high school students, where high school band students mentor younger students by teaching free private lessons after school.
In 2012 the Cuthbertson Middle School 8th grade band was a performing ensemble at the NC music educator’s state convention. In 2014 the band commissioned the piece “Brave Spirit” from composer Randall Standridge, which is based off the novel “Chinese Cinderella” that all Cuthbertson students studied that year. The 8th grade band travels annually to perform in Orlando and in 2015 and 2017 the band participated at the Festival Disney competition. The Cuthbertson bands are also regular performing groups at the Carowinds Music Festival. In 2016 Cuthbertson Middle School was designated a Support Music Merit Award school from the NAMM foundation. In 2017 the Cuthbertson Middle School band will be performing at the NCMEA conference and at the University of Georgia MidFest this December.
The success of the Cuthbertson instrumental music program is credited to its student performers, supportive school and district administration, excellent parent booster organization, our associate director Alex AsKew, and the husband and wife teaching team of Todd and Katie Ebert.
The Cuthbertson Middle School Band is honored to be a featured performing ensemble at the 2017 North Carolina Music Educators Association State Convention.