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The Marion Band Program made more history Monday, setting a new school record by having four bands earn coveted Sweepstakes Awards from the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association, following participation in the Region IV Concert Assessment at West Memphis.

Marion is the only band program in its region to earn four Sweepstakes Awards. No other school had more than two. Marion’s region includes most of the schools in east Arkansas, including Lonoke, Stuttgart, Searcy, Jonesboro, Marion, West Memphis, and more.

Marion bands earning the Sweepstakes Awards were the Marion Junior High Eighth Grade Symphonic Band, the Marion High School Wind Symphony, the Symphonic Band, and the Concert Band.

Bands are adjudicated by four judges for concert performance and sightreading and are assigned ratings from I (superior), II (excellent), III (good), IV (average), and V (poor). All four Marion bands earned straight first-division ratings and set the standard for the entire Concert Assessment.

“This is a very difficult task,” said Monty Hill, Marion director of bands. “Marion was the only school at our region contest that had four bands accomplish this. The three MHS bands were the only high school bands to achieve this status. The Marion Junior High Eighth Grade Symphonic Band was one of only two eighth grade bands to earn this status – and we were the only one that received straight first divisions. I am extraordinarily proud of the work our students have been putting in all year to make this happen.”


Next up for Marion’s Patriot Pride Band is an exciting Spring Break trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. The band is set to leave Marion late tonight (Friday, March 15) and will participate in the Disney Imagination Campus Workshop. The workshop is a program for some of the top high school band programs in the country to come and work with Disney musical production professionals in recording a soundtrack for a Disney production.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of our students,” said Hill. “We have set very high performance standards at Marion, and it is thrilling that Disney has recognized this with our selection to perform and record in this magical setting.”

The Marion entourage will be staying on Disney property at the All-Star Music Resort and will have the opportunity to enjoy all Disney parks while in Orlando from March 17-22.

Students and parents have participated in fundraising activities for over a year in preparation for this event.


The Concert Assessment and Florida trip will wrap up a season of unprecedented success for the Marion Band program. Here’s a look at some of the band’s achievements this year:

  • Four bands earned ASBOA Sweepstakes Awards, the only school in our region to accomplish this

  • Selected to participate in the Disney Imagination Campus Workshop March 17-22 at Disney World in Orlando

  • Named Grand Champions of the Mid-South Marching Invitational in Jonesboro

  • Selected as the official Arkansas representative for the National Independence Day Parade last July 4 in Washington, D.C.

  • A school record 100 students in grades 8-12 qualified for the All-Region Honor Band

  • 7 band members earned spots in the prestigious All-State Band and Orchestra, the most positions among schools in the 6A East Conference

  • 36 MHS and MJHS students earned spots in the All-Region Jazz Honor Band – the most ever

  • Earned a fourth consecutive First Division rating at the Regional Marching Assessment

  • Earned a First Division rating at the State Marching Contest, placing in 6th place overall

  • Chosen as Finalist of the Gibson County Marching Invitational in Tennessee

  • Earned Third Place overall at the Paragould Marching Invitational

  • 16 band alumni attending college on band scholarships

  • Largest band in school history, with 380 students involved in band program in grades 7-12


The Marion Band will be featured in concert on Tuesday, April 23 for MHS and Tuesday, April 30 for MJHS. Both concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Marion Performing Arts Center, Admission is free.

The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, a seventh grade school, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit or call 870-739-5100.