TROY – Nearly 500 middle school band students representing 62 schools in Alabama, Georgia and Florida will participate in the 13th annual Southeastern United States Middle School Honor Bands and Clinic this weekend. The weekend culminates in a 10 a.m. Saturday concert of three honor bands, and offers the participants opportunities to attend clinics presented by faculty and staff members in the John M. Long School of Music as well as guest clinicians. More than 800 students from throughout the region applied to be a part of one of three honor bands, said Director of Bands Dr. Mark Walker, executive director of SEUS. Serving as Composer-in-Residence is Victor Lopez, a former educator and administrator in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools System. A highly acclaimed composer, arranger and adjudicator, he holds music degrees from the University of Florida and Florida International University, including a Doctor of Education degree. In addition to being the former lead trumpet player and arranger for the “Miami Sound Machine,” Dr. Lopez has recorded and performed with various artists and has appeared in numerous music videos. Currently, he is a senior director and program professor for licensure and compliance at Nova Southeastern University and an exclusive composer/arranger and clinician for Alfred Publishing Company with more than 450 publications to his credit. He will present a “Directors Only Clinic” during the weekend. Guest clinicians are Ernest Cantru from Brownsville, Texas; James Pianalto of Benton, Ark.; and Troy University alumnus Antony Vittore of Eclectic, Ala. Guest band performances include a 10:30 a.m. Saturday performance by C.W. Ruckel Middle School from Okaloosa County, Fla. The band, consistently earns superior ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association Music Performance Assessments in both concert and jazz, in the past 12 years 46 Ruckel Band students have been selected to the Florida All-State Band. The Ruckel Band is under the direction of 34-year music education veteran Eddie Steadman. Performing at 1:45 p.m. is the Suwanee, Ga., Riverwatch Middle School Symphonic Band, under the direction of Matt Koperniak. More than 400 students participate in the Riverwatch band program, of which the Symphonic Band was a featured performing ensemble at the 2012 Southern Division Conference of the National Band Association and College Band Directors National Association. The program was selected by the Georgia Music Educators Association as the 2010 recipient of the GMEA Exemplary Performance Award and received state-level honors from the National Wind Band Honors Project. Click here to download a PDF of the MS SEUS list.