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    Welcome to the

    Riverwatch Band Program

    Mr. Hunter McGee
    Ms. Katie Larkin
    Associate Director of Bands
    klarkin@forsyth.k12.ga.us

    Riverwatch Symphonic Band

    The 2023-2024 Riverwatch Symphonic Band performed with guest composer Frank Ticheli at Lassiter Hall in December 2023. The ensemble received all superior ratings on a Grade V program at LGPE in March 2024 and performed at the Music for All UCF-Orlando Invitational in April 2024.

    CONGRATULATIONS to the 42 RMS Band students who earned a position in the 2024 GMEA All-State Bands, as well as the 3 alternates! This is the highest number in Riverwatch school history and the highest number from a single middle school in the recent history of Georgia All-State Bands! For the 5th consecutive year , Riverwatch has the most students in the All-State Bands of any middle school in the state. This achievement would not be possible without the tireless efforts and dedication of our students. Please join us in congratulating them!

    CONGRATULATIONS to the 100 RMS Band students who earned a position in the 2024 District IX South Honor Bands, as well as the 26 alternates and 14 Honor Flute Choir participants! Comprising 40% of the total selected membership, this is the highest number from a single school in the district - and the highest number in Riverwatch school history.

    District IX South Honor Bands

     

    The 2022-2023 Riverwatch Symphonic Band performed at the Georgia State Music for All Southeastern Invitational Concert Festival, as well as in Carnegie Hall, alongside the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and Brooklyn Wind Symphony. They performed with guest artists Joseph Alessi (New York Philharmonic) and Nathan Zgonc (Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). They also commissioned a new piece of music - Portraits of a Moon by Minoo Dixon.

    Carnegie Hall

  • 2023-2024 Important Dates

    Optional events in italics. 
    Required events in bold.

    Monday, August 7th: 6th Grade Instrument Tryout Night - 5:00-8:00 pm at RMS - Drop in for about 30 minutes at your convenience

    Friday, August 18th: BAND CLASS LETTERS DUE

    Friday, September 8th: Band Rock-a-thon Fundraiser Event

    Tuesday, October 10th: Optional Pep Band Event (7th & 8th grade only) - after school at Lambert High School Stadium

    Thursday, October 12th: 6th Grade Fall Concert - 7:00 pm in RMS Gym, students report by 6:40 pm

    Monday, October 30th: Optional All-State Mock Audition (after school)

    Lambert Band Night Date TBD !

    Thursday, November 9th: 7th & 8th Grade Fall Concerts:
    7th Grade at 6:20 in Gym, students report by 6:00 pm
    8th Grade at 7:30 in Gym, student report by 7:15 pm

    Saturday, December 2nd: Optional All-State First Round Auditions at Otwell Middle School (7th & 8th grade only)

    Friday, December 8th: 6th Grade & Symphonic Band Winter Concert - 7:00 pm in RMS Gym, students report by 6:20 pm

    Saturday, January 6th: Optional All-State Second Round Auditions at Union Grove Middle School (7th & 8th grade only)

    Jan or Feb TBD: District Honor Band (by audition only)

    Feb 29-Mar 2: All-State Band (by audition only)

    March 2023: State Performance Evaluations (7th & 8th grade only, performance dates and times TBD)

    April 9-12: Symphonic Band Music for All UCF-Orlando Invitational Trip

    Saturday, April 20: District Solo & Ensemble Optional Event at Riverwatch Middle School

    Thursday, April 25th: 7th & 8th Grade Spring Concerts:
    7th Grade at 6:20 in Gym, students report by 6:00 pm -
    Concert Program
    8th Grade at 7:30 in Gym, student report by 7:15 pm - Concert Program

    Thursday, May 2nd: 6th Grade Spring Concert - 7:00 pm in RMS Gym - Concert Program

    Wednesday, May 15th: Symphonic Band End of Year Concert - 7:00 pm at Lambert High School Auditorium


  • About the Riverwatch Band Program ...

    The Riverwatch Middle School Band Program serves over 650 students in grades 6-8. Each year, all students perform in several concerts at Riverwatch. 7th and 8th grade students participate in GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluations. Riverwatch students consistently participate in the GMEA All-State Band, District IX Honor Band, and District IX Solo & Ensemble. Riverwatch hosts the annual District IX Solo & Ensemble event in April.

    The Riverwatch Symphonic Band highlight performances:

    2024 Music for All UCF-Orlando Invitational

    2024 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference Lobby Group Performance - Riverwatch Horn Choir

    2023 Lassiter Hall Performance with guest composer Frank Ticheli

    2023 Carnegie Hall Performance with Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony and Brooklyn Wind Symphony

    2023 Music for All Southeastern Concert Band Festival  

    2023 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference Lobby Group Performance - River watch Trumpet Choir

    2022 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference

    2019 Reinhardt University Middle School Honor Band Clinic

    2017 The Midwest Clinic: An International Band & Orchestra Conference

    2017 Music for All Southeastern Concert Band Festival

    2016 National Band Association/College Band Directors National Assoc. Southern Division 

    2014 Music for All National Concert Band Festival

    2013 Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference

     

    The Riverwatch Middle School Band Program is a four-time recipient of the Exemplary Performance Award from the Georgia Music Educators Association (2010, 2015, 2019, and 2022). The Exemplary Performance Award is the most prestigious award available to middle school bands in Georgia and recognizes middle school bands that achieve outstanding results in all areas of performance, including Large Group Performance Evaluation, Solo and Ensemble, All-State Band, and District Honor Band. The award is presented to the most outstanding bands in Georgia whose students excel in all aspects of band performance, both individually and as part of a group.

    The Riverwatch Band Program is a 2017 recipient of the John Philip Sousa Foundation's Sudler Cup and 2016 recipient of the National Blue Ribbon Program of Excellence Award, presented by the National Band Association. The Riverwatch Symphonic Band was named a 2015 Commended Winner in the National Wind Band Honors, and has previously been a four-time state level winner (2011-2014). The Riverwatch Symphonic Band has appeared on "Strike Up the Band" on National Public Radio, WABE 90.1. 

    In active encouragement of new music composed for middle school band, the Riverwatch Band Program regularly participates in commissions and consortiums, including the following:

    Portraits of a Moon (Minoo Dixon) - 2023 - commissioned for Carnegie Hall performance
    Tapestries 
    (Haley Woodrow) - 2018
    Baron Piquant on Pointe (Donald Grantham) - 2012
    Tribute (Richard A. Crosby) - 2011


  •  About The Directors . . .

    Hunter McGee

     

    Hunter McGee is the Director of Bands at Riverwatch Middle School. Under his direction, the Riverwatch Symphonic Band performed at the GMEA In-Service Conference and is a two-time recipient of the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award (2019 & 2022). McGee was selected as the 2022-2023 Riverwatch Middle School Teacher of the Year and was also a Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year Semi-finalist. He has worked extensively with the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony, serving as the Percussion Coordinator from 2013-2020. McGee has performed with AYWS (and worked on performance tours) in Walt Disney Concert Hall (LA), Carnegie Hall (NYC), Severance Hall (Cleveland), the New World Center (Miami), and the Music Center at Strathmore. Additionally, McGee serves as Director of Music at Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church and Co-Director of the Atlanta Trumpet Ensemble. 

    Mr. McGee graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia, where he was a percussion student of Timothy K. Adams and Kimberly Toscano Adams. While completing his Bachelors of Music Education, he performed with the UGA Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Symphony, and Percussion Ensemble, including a performance at the GMEA In-State Conference and recording sessions with the Hogdson Wind Ensemble. Prior to his appointment at Riverwatch, Mr. McGee served as Director of Bands at Dacula Middle School. He also served as Director of Percussion at Lakeside High School (Atlanta) from 2014-2017. McGee arranges and composes music for various organizations in the Metro-Atlanta area. Professional affiliations include NAfME, GMEA, NBA, and PAGE.

    Mr. McGee believes that music has the power to make positive, transformative change - to individuals and to the world. Education is the key to a better future, and music must be close to the heart of it all!

     

    Katie Larkin Katie Larkin is the Associate Director of Bands at Riverwatch Middle School. She has served in this role from 2020 to present. Before teaching at Riverwatch, Ms. Larkin served as the Director of Bands at Largo Middle School in Largo, Florida.

    Ms. Larkin graduated from The Florida State University, where she studied clarinet under Dr. Deborah Bish and Dr. Jonathan Holden. While completing her Bachelors of Music Education, she performed with various ensembles including the graduate Wind Orchestra. She has continued to pursue her passion for ensemble performance through her membership in the Cobb Wind Symphony. Ms. Larkin was selected to participate in the 2023 Kennesaw State University Conducting Symposium and the Conducting Workshop at the GMEA In-Service Conference. She is also the current director of the Riverwatch Clarinet Choir. Her professional affiliations include NAfME, GMEA, and FMEA.