Seven Keith band members were selected to play in the Alabama State University Honor Band Festival. Pictured, from left, are Jearel Black, Ja’Kira Jackson, Ethan Beard, Marquel Rand, Angelika James, Marella Mitchell and Jimmy Simmons. -- Robert Hudson

Students honor Keith at state

Published 11:59pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The past weekend was a busy one for some Keith High School band members, as they traveled around the state, receiving high honors in the process.

Keith band members Jimmy Simmons, Angelika James, Ja’Kira Jackson, Ethan Beard, Marella Mitchell, Marquel Rand and Jearel Black participated in the 2012 Alabama State University Honor Band Festival on March 2-4.

Marcus Rackley, band director at Keith High School, said the honor band festival was just one highlight of a busy weekend.

“This weekend, we had quite a bit going on. We actually had a student (Jimmy Simmons) that participated in a clarinet symposium at the University of Alabama-Birmingham,” Rackley said. “We also had several students that participated in honor band at Alabama State University, and this weekend we participated in the Jubilee Parade.”

Rackely said students rehearsed Friday and Saturday for honor band before playing the concert.

Rackley said the honor band festival gave Keith band members a chance to see a college atmosphere, and he hopes to continue pushing them toward the next level.

“We had an opportunity for kids to view college campuses and get a taste of what life would be like at the next level,” Rackley said. “The students were able to interact with college students that were there, they got master classes on their particular instruments, and they had fun in doing it.

“It’s something that definitely looks good on our school and our school board. We’re trying to keep doing things of this nature, so we can keep the kids going to the next level.”


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