Keller Citizen

Keller High School band receives international honor

The Keller Indian Band performing at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis.
The Keller Indian Band performing at the Bands of America Grand National Championships in Indianapolis. Courtesy

Add “international award-winning” to the string of honors for the Keller Indian Band from Keller High School.

After school let out for winter break, KHS Band Director Mark McGahey went to the Midwest Band Clinic, an international conference for band directors in Chicago. While there, he learned that his band is one of two high school bands to receive the 2015 Sudler Shield, an international award of excellence for bands from the John Philip Sousa Foundation.

The foundation seeks to promote excellence in band music. Past winners come from all over the world, including Japan and China.

“Some years, they don’t choose anyone if they don’t feel the submissions meet their standard, so it feels extra special to receive the award,” McGahey said.

Two years ago, Indian Springs Middle School’s band won the Sudler Cup, an award from the same organization for middle school groups.

The contest looks at a band’s achievements over a three-year period and groups are eligible for the award only once in a director’s tenure. Groups also must submit a recording of a performance for judging.

The Indian Band has had a lot to celebrate during that time. In 2014, the group made the state finals for the first time since moving to the largest classification, finishing tenth out of all the 6A bands in Texas.

Last fall, the group made the finals at the Bands of America Grand National Championships, finishing eleventh out of 95 bands. The winning band at that event from Broken Arrow High School was the other 2015 recipient of the Sudler Shield.

A foundation representative will come to Keller in May to give the award during the spring band concert and will direct the group in a Sousa march. McGahey said he was trying to find a larger venue than the Keller High Fine Arts Center.

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