Last weekend, a Burke County high school band director was awarded the Award of Excellence by the the North Carolina Bandmasters Association.
Chad Higdon, director of The Patton High School Panther Regiment, was given the award of excellence at the All District Honor Band Clinic and becomes only the fourth Burke County band director to receive the honor. The award was established in 1980 and is a very prestigious honor. Burke County band directors who have won the award now include:
- 1983 Kathryn Siphers, East Burke High School
- 1994 Linda Noe, Table Rock Middle School
- 1997 Wynn Justice, Freedom High School
- 2023 Chad Higdon, Patton High School
Two former Burke County band directors also won the award, but were not teaching in Burke County at the time, including Robert Johnson, former director at Table Rock and Freedom, and W.C. Lanning, former assistant director at Freedom.
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Higdon said it was a great honor to receive the award.
“I am very honored to receive this award and to have my name beside such wonderful teachers, mentors and friends,” he said. “I will also have the honor to conduct the 9-12 honor band at the 2024 All District Band Clinic.”
The award is given every year to a band director who “salute the musical excellence of band directors of the Northwest District NC Bandmasters Association.” Criteria for the award include:
- Directing a program of excellence and providing students with many and varied performance opportunities.
- Displaying consistent Superior ratings at musical performance assessments.
- Outstanding success in education such as teaching skills, musicianship, leadership and consistent high level of performance by ensembles.
- A consistent pattern of service to the NWDBA.
- Thought of among their colleagues as a “top quality” teacher, director and person.
As the recipient of the award, Higdon received an engraved plaque and letters of congratulations sent to his principal and superintendent of schools, in addition to an invitation to conduct the honor band at the All-District Band Clinic in 2024.
Higdon is only the 18th recipient of the award in its 44 year history.