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About our Band

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Great Bridge Middle School is located in Chesapeake, Virginia, one of the five cities which comprise the southside Hampton Roads area. It is one of ten middle schools in our city and has an enrollment of approximately 1250 students in grades six through eight. After eighth grade, students continue their education at Great Bridge High School or Grassfield High School.

The Great Bridge Middle School bands have been under the direction of Michael Oare since 1991. Mark Gerhardt served as assistant director from 1997-2015. After serving in the Chesapeake Schools for 43 years, Mr. Gerhardt retired in 2015. Rob Carroll joined the GBMS faculty in 2015 after serving as Director of Bands at Great Bridge High School for 27 years.

Over the past 40+ years, the Great Bridge Band program has enjoyed tremendous success. Each year, the District IV Middle School Band is been comprised of a significant number of Great Bridge students, often totaling as much as 1/3 of the District Band’s enrollment. The Great Bridge Middle School Symphonic Band has consistently received straight superior ratings at District Band Festival, performing grade III and IV level music.

Additionaly, the Great Bridge Band program has been honored to perform for the VMEA conference on six occasions. The Great Bridge Junior High Band, under the direction of Craig K. Mills, performed in 1981 and 1987. The Great Bridge Middle School Band, under the direction of Michael Oare, was the first group to perform at the 1995 conference at The Homestead. In 2000, Mr. Oare and Mr. Gerhardt presented a session titled “The Three Little Pigs Go To Middle School” featuring the GBMS Band in a recruitment and community service program for pre-school aged students. The Great Bridge High School Honors Band, under the direction of Rob Carroll, performed for the 2002 conference held in Norfolk. Finally, the middle school band was again  honored to accept the invitation by VBODA to perform for the 2003 Virginia Music Educators’ Conference.

Our bands meet in 40-47 minute daily periods, where elective and physical education classes share an 80-90 minute grade level block. Course offerings include three performing ensembles: 6th grade Begcoolgclefinning Band, 7th grade Intermediate Band, and the 8th grade Symphonic Band. We also offer an 8th grade non-performance band methods class, which focuses on music fundamentals in a smaller classroom environment.  Students are also offered the opportunity to participate in a co-curricular Stage Band,  Flute Choir, Woodwind Choir, and Brass Choir which rehearse before school twice a week.