Out of all the middle school music programs across the state of Georgia, the top one calls Cobb County home. The Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) recently selected Hightower Trail Middle School as the Music Program of the Year.
The award recognizes Hightower Trail for excellence in all facets of the school’s music program including band, chorus, and orchestra.
Hightower Trail’s five-member music faculty serves 942 students or 89 percent of the student body. The premier music program offers classes in band, chorus, orchestra, guitar, and music appreciation.
The band, chorus, and orchestra programs regularly earn Superior ratings during their large group performance evaluations, and their students consistently earn placements in District Honor and All-State ensembles. Instrumental students participate in solo and ensemble each fall. They also send two Jazz bands to the Jazz evaluation in the spring. The award-winning music department also collaborates with Hightower Trail’s art teacher to present an annual “Night of the Arts” that spotlights chamber ensembles.
The Hightower Trail band is led by Andrew Cole, director, and Fred Norton, assistant director.
Hightower Trail’s eighth-grade symphonic band has performed at the University of Alabama, University of Georgia MidFest three times, the Music for All-Southeastern Regional twice, the GMEA In-Service Conference three times including last year, and the Music for All National Festival. The band has also received the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award.
Hightower Trail’s Choral Director Suzanne Logue is a 30-year member of GMEA, having served in many organizational capacities in the choral division, including State Choral Chair in 2010. She has presented at several In-Service Conferences and is an accompanist for All-State and Honor Choirs around the state.
Directors Michael Tompkins and Paul O’Keefe oversee the orchestra program at Hightower Trail. The Chamber Orchestra has performed at the ASTA National Orchestra Festival and the 2019 GMEA In-Service Conference. The Orchestra has also received the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award.
In addition to Hightower Trail’s recognition as the number one middle school music program in Georgia, GMEA recently recognized Christopher Ferrell as the Administrator of the Year for his work as the Cobb County School District Supervisor of Instrumental Music.