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Mariposa High Band Honored as ‘Grammy Winner’

Bee Staff Reports


Mariposa County High is among 36 schools nationwide selected as Grammy Signature Schools for 2011. The school will receive a custom award, a monetary grant to benefit its music program, and permission to use the title “Grammy Award Winner.”


Created in 1998, the Grammy Signature Schools programs recognizes U.S high schools that are making an outstanding commitment to music education during an academic year. Each August, more than 20,000 high schools from districts large and small, urban, suburban and rural are asked to provide information on their music programs. Applications are then scored, additional documentation such as recordings of performances is reviewed by an independent committee of recording artists and music educators to determine the schools that merit Grammy Signature School status.


Winning the award for Mariposa County High School was the Grizzly Concert Band, under the direction of Phillip M. Smith. Most schools submitted tracks from each ensemble in their music program (choir, orchestra, symphonic band, jazz band, etc.). Mariposa County High School was unique, submitting only one ensemble (the concert band) for critique. The recording entered was from the band’s May 2010 performance at Forum Music Festival’s Judges Invitational in Anaheim. It performed Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators”; Smith’s “The 49ers,” “Mountain Mornings” and “Mariposa” from his “Gold Country Suite”; and Gustav Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War.” The performance recording was deemed one of the best nationwide by any high school performing arts program.


“This is a remarkable accomplishment for our small group,” Smith said in a news release. “Almost every school submitted recordings from numerous ensembles, but our concert band represented our entire program.


“I’m probably safe in saying that this is one of the most important awards ever received by our school, and that it was earned by a small group of talented students with the support of incredible boosters … makes it even more remarkable.”


The Grammy custom award and a check in the amount of $5,500 will be presented to Mariposa County High School on June 2 at the Grizzly Band’s spring concert, 7 p.m. in Fiester Auditorium.


The Grizzly Band is well along in its fund-raising efforts to represent California at the 2011 Nine/Eleven Observance and Veterans Day Parade in New York City in November. The band will be performing throughout the year, including at the upcoming Butterfly Festival Parade in Mariposa. There will also be numerous fund-raising events to allow the band to get to perform in New York.


For more information about the band’s honors, or to donate to its New York fund, e-mail MCHS_Band_, visit or call (209) 966-1230.


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