Marching season is over, but the honors keep coming for the Nation Ford High School Band.
Three Nation Ford band students were awarded a spot in the Honor Band of America, sponsored by Bands of America and Music for All. Claire and Megan Sibley and Dottie Grantham will travel to Indianapolis in March as part of the Honor Band and spend three days learning and performing concert music with esteemed directors and other students from across the nation.
To be considered, the students had to fill out an application and send in a recording of two pieces of music, selected by Bands of America and Music for All, for judging. This is the second year in the Honor Band for all of the students. Grantham, a junior who plays the flute, auditioned again this year because she enjoyed the experience so much last year.
"When I was selected, I saw it as a really good opportunity to improve as a musician," Grantham said.
"And this year, I thought it'd be great to do it again. It's another opportunity to do better, to progress as a musician. We played really high end music pieces and it was fantastic."
Grantham was also invited to perform at the 42nd Annual Governor's Carolighting, which aired live on TV from the State House steps Sunday. The event marks the official start of the yuletide season in South Carolina. Gov. Mark Sanford gave his Christmas message and turned on the lights for the state's Christmas tree.
While in Indianapolis, the students will spend most of their time practicing. On the final day, they will hold a concert showing off all they've learned. The rehearsals are intense because the music is challenging, said Claire Sibley, a junior who plays French horn.
Breaks are given every few hours and for meals, she added.
"It doesn't get boring because it's just incredible music," Sibley said.
"At first it's like, 'Oh, no!,' because the music is so hard," said her sister, Megan Sibley, a senior who plays bass clarinet.
"But when you get it it's a great feeling of satisfaction."
Being selected for the Honor Band is a feather in the cap of a student musician, she said. Megan Sibley is already thinking about how being part of the Honor Band might help her with admission into Furman University's music program. It's a feather in the cap of Nation Ford High School's band program as well, director Martin Dickey said.