Join the Band! Welcome to the SMS Band

Welcome to Stephenson Middle School Band, where "Excellence Through Music" is the hallmark of our program.

With an enrollment of more than 300 students this year, the Stephenson Middle School Jaguar Band is one of the largest middle school bands in DeKalb County. Our performance groups include the 6th Grade Beginner band and 7th and 8th grade Advanced Band. Under the direction of Mr. Vincent K. Rosse, our students have consistently achieved superior ratings at local, regional, state-wide, and national competitions. The goal of the Stephenson Program is not only to inspire great musicians, but to cultivate a servant's heart in each of our students. We create the foundation of instrumental learning to a path of successful musical performance, but we also remind our students daily to stay humble and to remember that we use our platform to share our gifts, generosity, and kindness. The typical SMS band student is taught to understand that band and life are defined by a series of characteristics: Practice, presence, promptness, preparedness, and participation. We strive to attain excellence in all that we do.

Our Director:

Vincent K. Rosse is the Director of Bands at Stephenson Middle School, Stone Mountain Ga. He also served as Director of Bands at Stone Mountain Middle School, Stone Mountain, Ga. and was the Instrumental Band Lead Teacher for Clayton County Schools in Jonesboro, Ga. An honors graduate of Hardaway High School in Columbus, Georgia, Mr. Rosse received his B.A. in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and his M.A. in Music Education from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama, and the Educational Leadership Certification from the State University of West Georgia. His professional teaching career began in Columbia , Mississippi at Jefferson Middle and Columbia High Schools . Mr. Rosse also taught at Spencer High School in Columbus, Georgia, Albany High School in Albany, Georgia, North Clayton High School in College Park, Georgia , Morris Brown College in Atlanta, and LaGrange High School in LaGrange, Georgia.

Mr. Rosse is extensively sought after as an adjudicator and conductor in Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and California . Bands under his have performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, The All-American Music Festival in Orlando, Florida and Performing Arts Abroad in Mexico City, Mexico. As a performer, Mr. Rosse has performed twice at the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic with Hardaway High School and the Tara Winds Community Band. He has also performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra as principal percussionist, the LaGrange Symphony Orchestra, and the Meridian Symphony. He has also served as the percussion instructor at the Southeastern Music Center at Columbus State University; Guest Conductor and Percussion Instructor at the Encore Music Camp at Georgia College; and Assistant Director for the Atlanta Olympic Band. In addition, he serves as a motivational speaker at schools and churches across the country.

His awards and accolades include: Who's Who in Music in 1980, Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities in 1983; Outstanding Young Man of America Award in 1985 and again in 1987; Outstanding Leadership Award in 1989 from Spencer High School; the Golden Apple Teacher Award in 1996; Who's Who Among American Teachers in 1999 and 2000; Teacher Of The Month in 2003 from Mundy's Mill High School; and most recently has been named the 2020 Teacher of the year for Stephenson Middle School. He is formerly a member of the Board of Directors for Arts Clayton Incorporated; and a member of the Board of Directors for Troy University - Southeastern United States Honor Band. Mr. Rosse is a 2004 recipient of the John Philip Sousa Legion of Honor and in 2006 was inducted into the National High School Band Directors Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Music Educator's Association where he served as Multi-Cultural Awareness Chairman, All State Organizing Chair and Chairman of the Music Selection Committee.

His professional affiliations include Phi Beta Mu Bandmasters, Kappa Kappa Psi, Kappa Alpha Psi, Phi Mu Alpha, 100 Black Men of America , and the National Band Association. Mr. Rosse is a Deacon and the Minister of Music at the Franchise Missionary Baptist Church in Phenix City, Alabama .

Frequently Asked Questions (Scroll down):

Does my student have to know how to play an instrument? Of course not! We will learn to play our instruments together. Students will learn to manage their time, overcome challenges with learning something new, and work together as we become an ensemble.

How does 6th grade band work? 6th grade band is a class that meets during the school day only. There are usually no more than 2 after school rehearsals/year for our 6th grade students. This means that your child can participate in after school sports and clubs without worrying about any interference. We love how active our band students are within the school. Our students participate in cheerleading, all sports, and all clubs. Band does not interfere with any of the other programs. Children NEED to be involved in something during their middle school years. Band is a fantastic program that helps students build and develop life skills that will serve them well through middle school, high school, and beyond.

What does the connections schedule look like for students? Students attend 2 connections classes every 9 weeks. If a student is in the band, he/she remains in the class for the entire year and will rotate between the other connections classes in the other connections slot. Band is one of the only connections classes that your child can CHOOSE to be in! Example: First 9 weeks-Band and PE; Second 9 weeks-Band and Art; Third 9 weeks-Band and Spanish; Fourth 9 weeks-Band and Health.

Is Band a financial obligation? Yes, but think of this as investing in your students education. Instruments require maintenance, mouthpieces, reeds, valve oil, etc. Please note that we want ALL students to be able to participate in the band. We will not allow finances to keep a student out of the band. We will work with all families to make sure that students can participate.

My student is in 6th grade, how do we get an instrument? 6th grade students will be instrument tested. Students will try all of the instruments and see what fits them the best. We all are shaped differently and sometimes what we want may not fit us. Parents should be present so you can see and understand the process​. All dates will be on the band calendar ASAP. Please do not rent or purchase any instruments until Mr. Rosse has confirmed the instrument assignment.

Should we rent or buy an instrument? My personal opinion is rent first. If your student does not enjoy the class or if we switch instruments, you will not be burdened with the process of having to find someone to buy it if it is being rented. You will simply take it back to the music store. If your student enjoys the class and is going to stick with band through high school you should look into purchasing an instrument at that time. Many music stores implement a "rent to own" program.

What instruments are played in Middle School Band? Please click on the following instruments to see what is offered in band class.

Flute, Oboe, ClarinetBassoon (rent through school), Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Baritone (rent through school), Tuba (rent through school), Percussion (Mallets, Drums)

How much does each instrument cost, and how do I make an informed decision when helping my student choose which instrument to try?  Click HERE to view a chart that will help you make an informed decision. You can also click HERE for a great article about choosing the correct instrument. After you make your selections, we will start testing your student with his/her top 3 choices and go from there to make sure your student arrives at the most suitable instrument.

Will we need instruments the first day of School? No, we are going to get to know each other the first couple of weeks of school. We will also discuss classroom procedures and expectations.

Can parents volunteer to help make copies, organize fundraisers, etc.? Of course!!! Teamwork makes the dream work!!! The Band is what WE make it.

I am looking forward to you joining our program!

Building Lifelong Friendships!

Mr. Vincent K. Rosse, Director of Bands Vincent_k_rosse@dekalbschoolsga.org

Created By
Matthew Price


Created with images by Hal Gatewood - "Clarinet parts " • Katie Moum - "untitled image"