King’s Fork High band members soar with many accolades – The Suffolk News-Herald

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King’s Fork High band members soar with many accolades

Posted 7:23 p.m. Friday, November 4, 2022

Bernard C. Bradley celebrates the accomplishments of students in his group at King’s Fork High School. It was a great year for the KFHS group as they won 26 top honors across four major competitions, bringing a total of 30 awards to their school.

For Bradley, his 13 years at King’s Fork, 10 of which as band manager, have been a wonderful experience.

“I fill a lot of different hats here. I tend to write 95% of the music the band plays, I choreograph most of the moves the band does on the court, I also teach classes – beginners band classes, intermediate level band classes, classes advanced,” Bradley said.

He said KFHS also has a concert ensemble, as well as a variety of different smaller ensembles throughout the program.

“So it’s not just a marching band,” he said. “We’re really proud to have a full music program here at King’s Fork.”

Student band members Layla Phillips, Faith Easton, Keaton Owens and Jaylen Riddick spoke about their work in the band.

“It’s hard, because it’s like a lot of practice you have to do with other kids. New children arrive every year and they may not have the technique. It really takes practice to teach them and give them the right discipline and consistency and stuff,” Riddick explained of his drum work.

Owens called the preparation process rigorous. “But it’s nice and we have fun doing it,” he said.

Easton went on to note that all the hard work pays off in the long run.

“Like in the end, the result, you get a bunch of new friends. You basically have a whole family around you.

The band members also talked about what brought them to the high school band.

“So he (Bradley) here has this thing where the students who aren’t in the group have an ‘experience week’. That’s what I did, and that’s what pushed me to join me,” Easton said.

Phillips said he decided to join the band because of his love of music, noting that Mr. Bradley had asked him to join again and again.

For Owens, it was the way to improve his skills.

“I joined because I wanted to get better at my instrument and I thought it was a good way to help me get better,” Owens said.

Bradley took the time to highlight the various accomplishments the band had over the year.

“We participated in four different group competitions this year. One at IC Norcom High School, one at Hopewell High School closer to Central Virginia, followed by a performance at Highland Springs High School, my neck of the woods Henrico, and ending most recently on the street at Lakeland High School “Bradley said. “During these four different competitions, the band won 30 different awards given to them – 26 of them being either first place or what we call ‘grand champion’ awards where the band was the top performing group at all respective events we have played this year.

Likewise, Bradley pointed out how many areas of the group have received awards based on their efforts.

“Again, it’s not just the band itself, but different areas of the band that also win awards,” he explained. “Including our dance team, including our cheerleader team, including our color guard, our flag team, including our drumline, our drum major. The band as a whole, for their walking and musical prowess.

Bradley emphasized that without his team and assistant coordinator Devonte Arrington, none of these accomplishments would have been possible.

“He’s also an alumnus of Kings Fork High School, a former saxophonist and drum major,” Bradley explained. “So for him to come back as an elder to come back and serve with the program, he’s done an outstanding job again and again. This year certainly wouldn’t have gone so well without his support this year.

Bradley shared his immense pride in his students and their work.

“Above all, first of all, just proud of them,” he said. “Like any organization, we have our good days and our bad days, but at the end of the day, these kids came together with high expectations and said, ‘We’re going to be part of something big. We’re going to work hard, we’re going to do what we have to do’ and these kids have absolutely exceeded my overall expectations this year.

Bradley said the band members did their job and what they needed to do to make King’s Fork a musical name.

“Most importantly, take the life experiences you learned from the group and apply them to other areas of your life,” he said. “Whether it’s business or medicine, any field of activity. Just take the life lessons of achieving excellence and working hard and apply them to areas of your life, so hopefully you can continue to be a productive adult there.

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