Pikeville Wind Band makes history

LOUISVILLE — The Kentucky Music Educators Association holds the State Concert Band Performance Assessment each May at Comstock Hall at the University of Louisville School of Music. Bands from across the Commonwealth, including Pikeville High School, perform in this prestigious event.


To qualify, participating bands must receive a distinguished rating at one of the state’s district concert band assessments. In April, the Pikeville Wind Band received unanimous distinguished ratings from a panel of three adjudicators at the KMEA District Nine assessment. KMEA’s District Nine encompasses the KHSAA 14th and 15th regions.


Based upon the decision of the judges, the Pikeville Wind Band was awarded a Distinguished rating. This is the first statewide distinguished rating garnered by the Pikeville High School band program and one of only two distinguished ratings ever awarded within KMEA District Nine history. The second distinguished was also earned at this year’s assessment by the Letcher County Central High School Wind Ensemble.


Bands are judged in seven categories: tone quality, intonation, interpretation, technique, rhythm, balance, and overall factors. Unlike a competition where groups compete against one another, an assessment requires that the participating ensembles “compete” against themselves within the context of the national standards of music performance.


The assessment results are decided by a panel of three nationally-known judges reading the printed music while the band is simultaneously playing the music on stage. It is the decision of the panel to determine how well the band performs based on the composer’s requirements.


Judges do not determine a ranking order, but rather if each band meets the national performance standards required by the music composers. Judges then rate the performance in one of four categories: Distinguished, Proficient, Apprentice, or Novice.


The Pikeville Wind Band performed Festivo by Vaclav Nelhybel, Aria de Chiesa by Alessandro Stradella, and Alligator Alley by Michael Daugherty. The ensemble is conducted by Director of Bands, Dr. Scott Bersaglia.


Bersaglia was hired in June 2012 by Superintendent Jerry Green. Bersaglia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Morehead State University and a Master’s of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Conducting from The University of Texas at Austin where he studied under the auspices of Jerry Junkin. Bersaglia serves on the KMEA State Band Council and is Band Chair for KMEA District Nine.


The state concert band assessment was established by the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) in 1979. State records indicate the Pikeville Band has performed twice at the event, once in 1991 and the second in 2017.