Awards & Recognition

Ferndale Student musicians lead the region. And many of them receive their first introduction to musicianship in school. Traditional music education begins in 5th grade Band & Orchestra, with 70-80% of students choosing to learn an instrument. This list is just a few of the awards & recognitions our students have earned for themseves in recent years.

Marching Band State Championships

The Ferndale Golden Eagle Marching Band is one of the best in the state, and has been for years. Led by Band Director Elon Jamison, our students put out top-level performances every year. They have earned state championships 9 of the last 14 years.

  • 2016
  • 2015 - 4th in State - Best General Effect
  • 2014
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004

Ben Moy Named Orchestra Teacher of the Year 2016-17

Ferndale orchestra teacher Ben Moy was named Teacher of the Year for District 4 by the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association (MSBOA). In addition, Ben was named one of 3 finalists for MSBOA State Orchestra Teacher of the Year

Electrify Your Strings with Mark Wood

In April of 2016, International recording artist and Emmy award winning composer Mark Wood, an original member of the multiplatinum selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra and creator of the revolutionary Viper electric violin, brought his groundbreaking music education program Electrify Your Strings! (EYS) to Ferndale Schools.

During the exciting event, student musicians were transformed into a full-fledged Rock Orchestra! Mark performed with the students on his handcrafted 7-string fretted electric Viper violin as part of the Electrify Your Strings! “Authentic Tour” on April 23rd. The ensemble performed Mark’s original material, as well as his exciting arrangements of music by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and more. The performance was open to the public with all profits going to the school’s music program.

Ferndale High School Superior Wind Ensemble - 25 Years Running

Ferndale HS Wind Ensemble has earned a 1 (Superior) rating at MSBOA District Band Festival for the last 25 consecutive years.

All Orchestras Earn Straight Ones at MSBOA Festival

On Friday March 11th, 2016, the Ferndale Instrumental Music Program participated in MSBOA District Festival. Our school district was represented very well, both on the concert stage and with how our students conducted themselves throughout the festival experience.

FMS 7th Grade Band

The FMS 7th grade band performed at Clarkston High School receiving a 2nd division overall rating signifying an Excellent musical performance. It was the 7th graders first festival experience and they learned a lot by participating in the festival as well as watching other groups perform.

FMS 8th Grade Band

The FMS 8th grade band also performed at Clarkston High School and received "straight ones" or first division ratings from all judges.  A first division rating signifies a Superior musical performance.

FHS Band

The FHS bands both performed at Clarkston High School with both groups earning "straight ones" and an overall Superior rating.

FHS Wind Ensemble

The Ferndale High School Wind Ensemble had the added distinction of receiving all "A" grades in all areas from all judges.

FMS & FHS Orchestras

The FMS and FHS Orchestras performed at Birmingham Groves High School. Both groups earned "straight ones" and an overall Superior rating. The Ferndale High School Combined orchestra had the added distinction of receiving all "A" grades in all areas from all judges, including an overall performance grade of A+ from one judge.

Individual Achievements Timeline






March 2018

2 FMS Students Nominated to Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Orchestra 

These students were selected from amongst the best student musicians in the state by virtue of their outstanding performance at the 2018 MSBOA State Solo and Ensemble Festival.

  • Erin Isaacs - viola
  • Jacob Keener - viola

Jacob Keener was also selected as a MYAF Outstanding Soloist and was given the opportunity to audition to be able to perform as a featured soloist at the Michigan Youth Arts Gala Concert.

6 FMS Students Join Detroit Symphony Orchestra Honors Band Festival

Six FMS students participated in an exciting day of music making - playing alongside DSO musicians, performing in historic Orchestra Hall, and working with faculty from the DSO’s Civic Youth Ensembles program.

Sousa Wind Ensemble - 8th grade

  • Alicia Erlandson - flute
  • Ethan Hart - oboe
  • Ember Wood - clarinet

Grainger Symphonic Band - 7th Grade

  • Bennett Curran - bassoon
  • Abbey Dolunt - percussion
  • Wyatt Thompson - French horn

November 2017

1 Student in All-State Band

  • George van der Vennet - bass

10 FHS band students MSBOA Honors Band

  • Graham Bokram - bassoon Wind Symphony (top group)
  • Joe Burke - clarinet, Wind Symphony
  • Morgan Mundt - clarinet, Wind Symphony
  • Zelda Lambrix - clarinet, Concert Band (second group)
  • Bridget Tweedle - clarinet, Concert Band
  • Grace Rost - trumpet, Concert Band
  • Nick Stoll - French horn, Wind Symphony
  • Maddie Krycian - French horn, Concert Band
  • Mira Santella - French horn, Concert Band
  • Amani Khalasawi - euphonium, Concert Band

These students were selected from amongst over 300 students nominated for the bands from 25 different high schools.

5 orchestra students in Oakland University Honors Orchestra Weekend

  • Margaret Dominic
  • Maisie Parmenter
  • Nina Tulashie
  • Jacob Keener
  • George Van Der Vennet

March 2017

2 MYAF (Michigan Youth Arts Festival) musicians

  • Shawn Pryde (violin)
  • Jacob Keener (viola)

Chamber Ensemble invited to audition

Margaret Dominic, Will McElgunn, Katie Keener, Mya Riccardi, Jacob Keener, Erin Isaacs, Ruth Butters, Dyani Armijo-Sinnett, and George Van Der Vennet were invited to audition for one of the chamber ensemble performance spots at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Their group was one of about 20 events selected from around the state to audition.

November 2016

8 students Oakland U Honors Orchestra

  • Katie Keener
  • William McElgunn
  • Anabel Sicko
  • Jacob Keener
  • Rachel Arquero
  • Margaret Dominic
  • George Van Der Vennet
  • Kita Van Der Vennet

These students worked with Alan McNair and perform two movements from the Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings as well as the Overture to "Candide" with wind and percussion players from the Oakland Symphony.

2 FHS Students Selected for Michigan Youth Arts Festival

  • David Traines on viola
  • Alex Maccoll-Artrip on violin

3 Students selected to All-State Band and Orchestra


  • Thomas Kelly (Violin) 8th grade
  • George Alexander (Bass) 7th grade


  • Graham Bokram, 10th grade bassoon, was selected for the All-State Band!
    • This was quite an achievement for any student, as literally thousands of students auditioned for the honor. However, the accomplishment becomes even more special when you consider that Graham is only a Sophomore and only eight bassoon players were selected.

10 students MSBOA District 4 Honors Bands

the following 10 students earned a spot in the MSBOA District 4 Honors Bands:

  • Abbey Krycian
  • Graham Bokram
  • Joe Burke
  • Nolan Handyside
  • Morgan Mundt
  • Chloe Farrah
  • Enzo Bowen
  • Grace Rost
  • Nick Stoll
  • Dyani Armijo-Sinnett

May 2016

2 students in Michigan Youth Arts Orchestra

  • David Traines
  • Alex Macoll-Artrip

March 2016

11 DSO Middle School Youth Honors Band

  • Claire Christin
  • Braeden Keener
  • Maddie Krycian
  • Zelda Lambrix
  • Marina Lamphier
  • Landen Mundt
  • Mitchell Owens
  • Jason Payne
  • Mira Santella
  • Shaun Voss
  • Daphne Wilson.

January 2016

2 Students All-State Youth Orchestra

  • David Traines - viola
  • Lucas Langley - viola

1 Student All State Band

  • Isabella Kercorian - clarinet

November 2015

2 students in International Youth Symphony Orchestra

  • George Van Der Vennet - bass - 8th grade
  • Rachel Arquero - violin - Freshman

Each year, more than 1,700 students apply for the 400 available spots to tour Europe in the Blue Lake International Youth Symphony Orchestra (IYSO).

George is an accomplished musician who plays the bass in the FMS orchestra and jazz band, and he just completed his first year as a sousaphonist with the FHS Golden Eagle Marching Band. While on tour with Blue Lake, George played the Bass.

Rachel attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp with a concentration in violin for the last four years. She said that she loves playing violin and hopes to have a professional career in violin performance.

May 2015

3 students in MYA Orchestra

  • Makeda Barrett
  • Emily Bellaver
  • David Traines

April 2015

Ferndale Independent Percussion Earns 2nd Place in WGI World Championships

Ferndale Students in the Independent Percussion group earned 2nd place in the Independent A Ensemble competition with a score of 93.800.

May 2014

3 students in MYA Orchestra

  • David Traines
  • Jacob Traines
  • Emily Bellaver

January 2014

1 Student in All State Band

  • Isabella Kercorian - clarinet