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Fenton InPrint Online

The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

The student news site of Fenton High School

Fenton InPrint Online

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AGS band director wins prestigious award

AGS band director wins prestigious award
PHOTO Submitted by Andrew Perkins

AGS Band Director Andrew Perkins won the 2023 American Bandmasters Association (ABA) Sousa-Ostwald Award (SAO) which “recognizes outstanding achievement on the part of Concert Band conductors and composers. It would be an understatement to say how big of a deal winning this award means to AGS band director Andrew Perkins, his students and Fenton schools. Perkins has been a conductor, composer and music educator and has also been a finalist for other awards including the Grammy Music Educator’s Award in 2017. 

“I think it is a really well-deserved award,” FHS band director Patrick Conaton said. “He has contributed really good works to the concert band and they have gained recognition. Speaking as a colleague, he has been extremely supportive and has helped guide me as a new band director at Fenton.” 

“Tuebor Suite,” composed by Perkins, was selected after three rounds of review by the SAO committee from 114 total submissions from composers in 15 countries. As stated on, Perkins plans to be in attendance at the convention where he will be acknowledged for his winning piece. 

In his time as a band director, Perkins has also inspired many kids to keep going in their music-related endeavors. 

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“Mr. Perkins inspired me to continue with my journey,” freshman Jackson Defina said of his time in band with Perkins as a teacher.  

The award is proof of the appreciation for Perkins contributions to the musical world but it is evident his students appreciate him as well.

“He’s funny and he’s nice” AGS sixth grader Dane Gray said, “and he’s a great teacher.”

Prior to the SAO award, Perkins was a finalist for other awards in the past and is very excited and happy to have been selected as this year’s SAO recipient.

I was very excited because the American Bandmasters Association Sousa-Ostwald Award is a very prestigious award, and many of the composers who have previously received the award are people who I greatly admire,” Perkins stated. “It is an honor to be among their ranks, and I also feel that the piece I wrote ‘TUEBOR SUITE’ is a valuable contribution to the wind band repertoire, so I was glad that it will receive the recognition that our Michigan folk songs deserve.” 

Perkins has plans to attend the ABA convention in the spring.

“We didn’t really do anything special when I was notified, but we will be attending the ABA Convention in Washington DC in March, where the piece will be performed by members of the US Marine Band, Army Band, Navy Band, Coast Guard Band and Naval Academy Band,” Perkins said. “That will be the real time to celebrate. I think that the piece is written well for high school and college students, and is also in the tradition of setting folk songs for wind band.”

When the award was announced on Oct. 2, Perkins felt honored for his hard work to be recognized. 

“I hope that the piece won the award because of its quality, accessibility and musicality,” Perkins stated.I’ve been writing music for decades, and running my own publishing company since 2013. Because I work several jobs, I have to write late at night and on the weekends, so it feels great to be recognized.

In addition to teaching at AGS and working as a composer and conductor, Perkins spent time last summer completing an Artist-in-Residence workshop on Mackinac Island. As busy as he is, Perkins always has time to make more music.

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