Sixth Grade Beginning Band
Beginning Band is an introductory course for sixth grade students who wish to play a wind or percussion instrument. The Beginning Band performs at least two times a year as a group. Students do not need any prior musical experience in order to take Beginning Band.
Seventh Grade Concert Band
Concert Band is composed of wind and percussion students in the seventh grade. In order to participate in the Concert Band students must have completed at least one year of previous study on a musical instrument, either by taking Beginning Band or by taking private lessons on a given instrument. The Concert Band performs at least two times a year as a group. Members of the Concert Band are eligible to attend the PHMS Honor Band Spring Trip.
Eighth Grade Symphonic Band
Symphonic Band is composed of wind and percussion students in the eighth grade. In order to participate in the Symphonic Band students must have completed at least two years of previous study on a musical instrument and must have been enrolled in Concert Band during the previous school year. The Symphonic Band performs at least three times a year as a group. Members of the Symphonic Band are eligible to attend the PHMS Honor Band Spring Trip.
Jazz Band is an extracurricular group that meets after school on Wednesdays beginning in October. Its purpose is to study and perform genres of music not normally covered in band class. The Jazz Band consists of interested seventh and eighth grade students from the band program. Instrumentation includes but is not limited to alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, trumpet, trombone, tuba, guitar, bass guitar, piano, and drum set. The Jazz Band may have extra performances or trips during the school year that are not currently listed on the Band Calendar.
Mrs. Ashley Gable is the Director of Bands at Pleasant Hill Middle School in Lexington, South Carolina. Under her direction, both the Concert and Symphonic Bands received Superior ratings at Concert Festival during the 2013-2014 school year, helping the program to earn the Outstanding Performance Award, the highest award given to middle school band programs by the South Carolina Band Directors Association.
Mrs. Gable began her teaching career at Alice Drive Middle School in Sumter, South Carolina. She taught in Sumter for four years before moving to Pelion Middle School in 2011; the 2013-2014 school year was her first at Pleasant Hill Middle School. While under her direction, the bands of Alice Drive, Pelion, and Pleasant Hill Middle Schools all earned the Outstanding Performance Award for their achievements.
Mrs. Gable is a native of Augusta, Georgia and a graduate of Furman University, where she received the Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2007. She graduated from the American Band College in Ashland, Oregon with her Master of Music in Conducting in 2012. In November of 2013 she became a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood Music. Mrs. Gable resides in Lexington, South Carolina with her husband Levi, a computer programmer and professional double bassist, and their two Maine Coon cats, Izzy and Lilbit.
Mary Clare Gatch
Mrs. Mary Clare Gatch's musical career developed in high school, where she played the saxophone and marched in the Summerville High School marching band. During high school, she was honored to be chosen to be in the McDonalds All-American Band, which opened up the door to study at Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, which she did after high school. Mrs. Gatch graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Performance degree on saxophone and a business minor and returned in 1996 to get an instrumental music education degree.
Either because of having to move with her husband's job or with staying home for a year after having each child, she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of situations that have given her a unique bag of experiences. She began teaching at Lexington Elementary School, where she taught 5th and 6th grade band. There they had a wonderful piano keyboarding lab and were able to teach piano to their students. Next came Oak Grove Elementary, where she taught 5th and 6th grade band and general music. Busbee Middle School was her next venture, where she was the chorus teacher, general music teacher, and piano keyboarding teacher. After their move to Charlotte, Mrs. Gatch worked at Rocky River Elementary School and Carl A. Furr Elementary schools as the general music teacher, but at the latter school, she began the first school-wide elementary guitar program in the state. After their move back to Lexington, she is thrilled to be at PHMS working with Mrs. Gable to make the strong program they have.
Mrs. Gatch and her husband, Mike, have three children: Jimmy who is a junior and music ed major at USC, Drew, who is a senior at LHS and Anna, who is a freshman at RBHS. Drew and Anna are both in the marching band so yes, she'll be busy!