Forest Band completes all-superior year in competition

The Forest High School Band program ended the 2018-2019 season with a perfect record after recently earning all-superior ratings at state contest.

The 52-member Symphonic Band received superior ratings in the concert and sight-reading evaluations on March 25 at Pearl High School, sponsored by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

The band’s performance included “Top of the Line March” by Robert Geisler and “Aeolian Winds” by John Edmunds. The band’s selection from the required music list was “Counterbalance” by Todd Stalter.

Combined with the superior ratings in marching earned in October 2018 during the marching evaluation, the Forest Band program has earned all-superior ratings for the 2018-19 year.

Forest is also one of six bands in Class 3A to have earned all-superior ratings for the school year and one of 37 bands in the state to do so among all six classifications. This is also Forest’s first all-superior year since the 2007-08 school year and only the second time since 1985.

Mark S. Davis is in his first year leading the Forest band program continuing a 30-plus year career. Davis most recently directed the Lake High School middle and high school bands. His career has also included tenures at Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood and Humboldt High School in Humboldt, Tenn.

“We have an outstanding group of band students with a great work ethic. It’s been very rewarding to see them earn superior ratings. With this achievement, another bit of history has been added to a traditionally outstanding band program,” Davis said of the students’ recent success.

Davis attributed much of Forest band’s success to Director Kevin Bishop who is in his sixth year assisting the Forest band program. Bishop’s career previously included more than 20 years leading the Kosciusko High School band program.

“We have great band kids who work hard. Their effort is reflected in the music they play. This group is a joy to work with,” Bishop said.

Forest Assistant Principal Allan Atkison, who attended the concert performance, said the band’s success falls in line with a continued tradition of excellence for the program.

“They’re a great group of kids. They are resilient in adapting to a change in director before the school year started, but they have worked hard in getting to know Mr. Davis and their relationship with him grew from there,” Atkison said. “They did a great job in Pearl and they are just a great all-around group of kids. They represented Forest well.”

Noting his work ethic and experience, Atkison said Davis has been a welcome addition to the program that has a long tradition of success at competition. Atkison also noted the foundation Bishop has worked to build during his time at Forest.

“The timing worked well for him and for us. We knew the caliber of a director and overall person we were getting in Mr. Davis because of the work he has done in his career,” Atkison said. “Mr. Bishop is a solid figure for the band program. He has developed the kids’ interest and talents in music at the younger level and that is not easy. Mr. Bishop and Mr. Davis have different styles and they complement each other’s strengths really well.”