The George Walton Academy Band offers a complete artistic experience through the world of music. We believe that students can grow and become more meaningful citizens for our society through the opportunities they receive during their time with our program. GWA has many ensembles that can enrich our students lives. Every fall, the Marching Bulldog Band comprised of approximately 80 members excites the crowd at football games and also competes every year in at least 3-4 events/competitions. This puts our students in a position to be a part of the best possible experiences and venues around the southeast. Also in the fall, we have 4 concert bands that are made up of a 5th grade beginning band called the GWA Bullpup Band, a 6th grade intermediate band called the Concert Band, the Symphonic Band made up of 7th-12th grade students and the Symphonic Winds made up of the most advanced students in our band program. Some of the other aspects of our program that we are very proud of are the Private Lessons studios, our Upper School Mentoring Lessons, our Spring Recital, the Bulldog Basketball Band and our Student Leadership Team.
Our Private Lessons Studio allows students the opportunity to have weekly appointments with trained professionals, that our directors hand pick, to help them on their instrument. There is a small weekly fee for these lessons that the students/parents work out with the private instructors.
The Upper School Mentoring Lessons give our older band students a chance to mentor our beginning and intermediate level students on their instruments. We are very proud to offer this because the younger students are the lifeblood of our program and we want them to feel that they have every chance to be a big part of our band family.
To culminate all the progress made during this private instruction, we have our Spring Recital that showcases the talents and hard work of our students that study privately. This is a wonderful event that has grown in size from 15 to 45 student performances in the past 18 years.
The Student Leadership Team is one of our proudest achievements at GWA. Students audition for the privilege to serve their peers throughout the school year in all aspects of daily student life. We train these student leaders during the summer at an intense retreat specially designed for them and work throughout the school year to sharpen their skills. We believe that this is a key element in developing better citizens for our future as well as our band program. Studies have shown vast improvements in grades, test scores, and how much it helps them not only go to college, but be successful in that environment.
Under the direction of Christian Smith and Jason Sneath, the overall program has grown from 31 to 190 members 5th through 12th grade. Mr. Smith and Mr. Sneath have been recognized by the National Band Association, GMEA and the Board of Advisors for the Dixie Classic as outstanding contributors to music education and excellence in music and are both clinicians around the southeast.