The Texas Bandmasters Association has named the Fort Settlement Middle School Band as a recipient of the 2012 Exemplary Band Program Awards. Greg Countryman is the director of the Fort Settlement band.
Students begin band instruction in the 6th grade with mostly homogeneous classes meeting daily for 45-50 minutes with the development of tone production, hand position and music reading skills being the main focus. In the 7th and 8th grade, students are placed in two ability-based performing ensembles that meet daily and have a one-hour section or full band rehearsal each week.
Students are encouraged to participate in the TMEA Region Band auditions where an average of 55 students are selected to the All-Region Bands each year. In addition, students participate in the UIL Solo Contest and form ensembles that perform at the FSMS Ensemble Concert, Contest and Luncheon. These individual/small group competitions, as well as private lessons, are an integral part of the development of the students’ skills.
The Honors and Symphonic Bands have both earned UIL Sweepstakes Awards every year since the school opened in 2001. In addition, the Honors Band has been chosen “Best in Class” at the Festival at the Falls six times and the Symphonic Band awarded “Best in Class” twice and runner-up twice. In 2007, the FSMS Band presented a demonstration clinic Using the Daily Warm Up Routine to Teach Ensemble Skills and Concepts at the TMEA Convention. Fort Settlement has also been a recipient of the National Wind Band Honors Award, performed at the National Concert Band Festival in Indianapolis and was a 2009 recipient of the Sudler Silver Cup. The FSMS Band has advanced to the state level of the TMEA Honor Band Competition four times and placed 7th in 2004, 8th in 2006, 3rd in 2009 and 2nd in 2012.
The band program is under the direction of Greg Countryman who is starting his 31st year of teaching and 12th year as Director of Bands at Fort Settlement Middle School. Mr. Countryman’s musical career began under the direction of his father, Jerry Countryman, and feels fortunate to have mentors such as his father, Eddie Green, Tom Bennett, as well as many other outstanding band directors. The success of the FSMS Band would not have been possible without outstanding assistant directors.
The Fort Settlement Middle School Band program strives to help students develop an appreciation for music and a talent they can enjoy for a lifetime. Much of the success of the band program can be attributed to the emphasis placed on the students understanding the significance of good work habits, responsibility, self-discipline, persistence, respect for others and teamwork, as well as realizing how these characteristics are important not only to success in music, but also in every other aspect of life.