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The Artesia High School marching band and color guard both perform Tuesday evening at the 52nd Annual Southeast New Mexico Music Educators Association District Marching Festival at Bulldog Bowl. (Elizabeth Lewis - Daily Press)

The Artesia High School marching band and color guard both perform Tuesday evening at the 52nd Annual Southeast New Mexico Music Educators Association District Marching Festival at Bulldog Bowl. (Elizabeth Lewis – Daily Press)

Members of the Artesia High School marching band, from left, Jamey Kennemur, Kasey Bartley, Josh Rivera and Andrea Alvarez, hold the band’s trophy after nabbing a Division I rating Tuesday at the annual marching festival at Bulldog Bowl. (Elizabeth Lewis - Daily Press)

Members of the Artesia High School marching band, from left, Jamey Kennemur, Kasey Bartley, Josh Rivera and Andrea Alvarez, hold the band’s trophy after nabbing a Division I rating Tuesday at the annual marching festival at Bulldog Bowl. (Elizabeth Lewis – Daily Press)

The Artesia High School marching band and color guard were awarded superior ratings at the 52nd Annual Southeast New Mexico Music Educators Association District Marching Festival Tuesday at Bulldog Bowl.

Eight New Mexico high school marching bands and color guards competed at the Bowl, being judged on three main criteria: music competencies, marching competencies and presentation of shows, including disciplinary and auxiliary effectiveness.

Each band and color guard was judged from a rating of Division 1, a “superior” rating, down to a Division 5, a “poor” rating.

Two of the three marching band judges, Scott Carter of Wolfforth, Texas, and Matt Knight of Abernathy, Texas, awarded the band a Division 1 rating and Jim Young of Las Cruces awarded the band a Division 2 rating, which averaged overall to the band received a Division 1.

“[The band] captured the style of the music beautifully,” Carter said. “They performed with a very mature sound.”

The Division 1 rating for the marching band brings them one step closer to qualifying for the three-event sweepstakes award at the end of the school year. The band must also receive a Division 1 rating in the concert and sight reading contests in the spring.

Band director Lisa Dillon was pleased with the band’s performance.

“I’m very proud of these kids,” said Dillon. “They had a well-balanced sound, and to me, they were the best band out there last night.”

The festival’s color guard judge, Lendra Hailey of Clovis, also awarded the AHS color guard a Division 1 rating during that competition in the park outside the AHS band hall.

“The girls did a great job,” Krystin Long-West, color guard assistant instructor, said. “They worked hard, and their ratings show that.”