North bands strike gold


The North Montgomery Middle School Bands are seeing gold. 

Both bands, the beginning band and the concert band, received gold ratings at the annual Indiana State School Music Association Festival at Clinton Prairie High School on March 18. 

“This was the first ISSMA performance for our bands since 2016,” said band director Andy Simpkins. “I am very proud of the hard work and dedication that our students put into learning the music for this performance.”

When was hired, the bands were not ready to perform at this type of festival and later the pandemic put the brakes on their 2020 plans to attend. This year the beginning band entered the festival in group five, a division for first-time performers, while the concert band entered in group one, the most advanced level of evaluation. 

“This year’s bands have met and exceeded all my expectations as far as growth and level of performance,” Simpkins said. “This year’s concert band was the first middle school band from North to enter group one in many years.” 

Simpkins added, “As I reflect on our band and its history, I am reminded of Mr. Gary Hiller who was the North band director for 34 years (1969-2003). He laid the foundation for us; the expectation of hard work, perseverance, and doing things the right way. Unfortunately, we lost Mr. Hiller in January of 2020. Since then, I’ve been searching for a way to honor Mr. Hiller and it seems fitting for us to dedicate these gold ratings to him and his legacy. Thank you, Mr. Hiller.” 

The bands’ next concert is at 7 p.m. May 9 in the NMHS auditorium.