skip to main content

Select A New Fine Arts
Raymond Walton Email Icon Email

Grand Ridge School Middle School Band

Welcome to the Grand Ridge School Middle School Band!

(Raymond Walton, Band Director)

(Updated on Thursday, 8/31/17)

Welcome to the Band NOW!

Sixth Grade Band members (and parents):

If you made arrangements with the music store who helped your child decide what instrument they could play, and your child's instrument was not delivered to Grand Ridge School this week (August 30, 2017), you need to contact the store immediately.

If you need contact information, you may send me an e-mail at:, or click on the "e-mail" link at the top of this page, next to my name. I will be glad to respond as soon as I can!













(Old information-----)

For the 2017-2018 School Year, GRS Sixth Graders have an opportunity to join the Band now! NO EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY (that's MY job as Band Director!). If you are sure your child wants to be in band, contact the Guidance Office, immediately!

Sixth Grade is "the time" to start in Beginning Band! Mr. Walton will be visiting the 6th graders during the first few days of school, as there may still be a way to get your child into the Beginning Band during the first full week of classes!

Unless you have already discussed this with Mr. Walton--DO NOT GO OUT AND BUY OR RENT AN INSTRUMENT--YET! For ALL sixth graders wanting to be in band, there will be a "Drop In" meeting on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, in the GRS Cafeteria, from 3:30pm to 5:30pm. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you bring your child to this meeting for a short "horn check", where he/she will get an opportunity to "test play" several instruments of their choice, assisted by area instrumental music specialists. From these brief "horn checks",  these specialists will be able to make recommendations as to which instrument(s) your child seems best suited to play.

Come any time between 3:30pm and 5:30pm--this "drop in" session should only take about 10-15 minutes. I hope to see you there!

**NOTE--If you happen to have an instrument at home that you think your child might want to play, PLEASE bring it to me during Open House, or leave it at the Front Office (with parent's name and phone number, AND the student's name, clearly marked and inserted into the instrument case!), so that I can inspect it, and make sure it is in good playing condition!**

+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +

    To the returning 7th and 8th grade band students, and the new 6th grade band students at Grand Ridge School, GRS Middle School is proud to start its FIFTH consecutive year of having an active band program. I am delighted at what we accomplished last four years as we restarted this important part of the Music and Fine Arts curriculum, and am excited to continue to expand the program this year! 

+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   + 

Raymond Walton, Band Director

Grand Ridge School Middle School (6th, 7th, and 8th Grades)  

















Archived information------------------------------------

Information below is from previous school years--please disregard!






To Grand Ridge School 6th Grade Students and their Parents,

            Grand Ridge School is starting a new Beginning Band class of 6th graders—all 6th grade students are invited to join the band—no previous musical experience is necessary. All they will need is a band instrument and a desire to learn.

Each student wanting to be in band must come to a “Drop In Horn Check” session on Thursday, September 1, between 4:30pm and 6:00pm. During this time, students will get to ‘test play’ several instruments of their choice, assisted by instrumental music specialists from area music stores. From these brief “horn checks”, these specialists will make recommendations as to which instrument(s) your child seems best suited to play.

Come anytime between 4:30pm and 6:00pm—this “drop in” session should only take about 10-15 minutes, and will be held in the GRS Cafeteria.

********       ********       ********      ********       ********

If you already have an instrument at home, PLEASE bring it to the meeting, and have the specialists look it over to make sure it is in “good playing condition”—that is their job! Please be VERY WARY of instruments you will see on internet web sites—many of these “deals” are for instruments that are not sturdy, not reliable, and might not be repairable! If you see "deals" that seem "to good to be true", that's probably correct! Also be wary about purchasing a band instrument from any department store, warehouse store, or company that does not offer service warranties, and do not do have their own local, on-site full-service repair technicians. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, to insure your child will have a fully-usable instrument to play!

If you do not have an instrument, representatives from these area band music stores will be able to assist and advise you about options in renting or purchasing the best instrument for your child. Feel free to ask about fully-warrantied used instruments, as well. All necessary paperwork, including a down payment, can be completed there at the school during this session.

Instruments obtained from these companies will be delivered to Grand Ridge School a few weeks LATER, to be passed out during class by Mr. Walton. Only students who commit to obtaining an instrument by Thursday, September 8 will be authorized for immediate placement into the 6th grade band class.

You will be given a form at this "Drop In Horn Check" meeting which you will need to return to Mr. Walton or your child's Homeroom teacher AS SOON AS YOU SECURE AN INSTRUMENT FOR YOUR CHILD. Please let me know if you have any further questions by e-mailing me at:

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, September 1, 2016!

Our annual Holiday Band Concert is now scheduled for Thursday, December 18, 2014. It will be held at the Sneads High School Auditorium, and will start at 6:00pm. The GRS Middle School Band members should plan to be at Sneads High School at 5:30pm. The 6th grade Beginning Band will play first, followed immediately by the 7th/8th grade Intermediate Band. The 6th grade Band may be joining the 7th/8th grade band for one or two musical selections--please do NOT leave!

They will be followed by the Sneads High School Band. ALL band students are expected to be in attendance for the entire program, which should be over by 7:00pm.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at:    

Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you at the concert!

This past spring, 5th graders at both Grand Ridge School and Sneads Elementary School were given an opportunity to indicate an interest in being in this year's Sixth Grade Beginning Band Class. School starts this year on Monday, August 18, 2014, and the week before that, incoming 6th grade students will be given two opportunities to participate in a "horn check"--this process is essential in making sure you pick an instrument that will 'work' for you! Do not go out and buy or rent an instrument yet!


On Tuesday, August 12, 4:30-6:00pm, and on Thursday, August 14, 4:30-6:00pm, representatives from two area "full-service" band instrument dealers will be at Grand Ridge School for a "drop-in" meeting. ALL prospective sixth grade beginning band students are strongly encouraged to come, with their parent(s), and try out a few instruments to make sure they can make a sound on one. This should only take about 10-15 minutes. Please do NOT go out and buy or rent an instrument until you have completed this "horn check" at one of these two meetings!


BAND CONCERT-- Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at Sneads High School Auditorium.  Concert will start at 6:00pm; all band students should be at Sneads High School by 5:30pm.

5th graders at both Grand Ridge School and Sneads Elementary School will be attending an introduction to 6th grade beginning band at Grand Ridge School Middle School for the 2014-2015 school year. These sessions are on Thursday, April 24 (GRS) and Friday, April 25 (SES). A letter to the parents of all 5th graders should be going home on these days explaining this process! Mr. Walton will be showing all 5th graders some band instruments, and they will all watch a short video which will also show most of the standard band instruments being played. The 5th graders will also be taking a short test to evaluate their music listening skills.

Very soon, all 5th graders will be making choices about what electives to take. Physical Education (P.E.) is required, and they will be able to choose band among several other elective classes which we call "wheel" classes. If you and your 5th grade child are excited about taking band, that's great! If your child wants to take band in 6th grade next year, make sure they understand that they need to check that as their other wheel class, along with P.E.!

Please do NOT rush out and buy a band instrument at this time. Before the school year is over, another letter will go home with all 5th grade students that have chosen to take band next year. This letter will outline the instrument selection process, which will take place just before school starts in the fall. It will also describe easy ways to obtain an instrument, either by purchase or rental.

PLEASE visit this web page often, as I will keep it updated with current news and scheduling information.

 More Archived information--please disregard

For the first few weeks of school, students have been randomly placed into three band classes: one 7th grade band class (homeroom and 1st period), one 8th grade band class (2nd period), and one 6th grade band class (3rd period). Due to special circumstances in getting the instrumental music program ("band") active this year at Grand Ridge School, we were not able to pre-screen nor accept input as to who would be placed in these classes on the first day of school--BUT DON'T WORRY! Mrs. Cullifer and I, along with the rest of this fine faculty and staff at Grand Ridge School, are going to make band available to EVERY middle school student, even if they are not in one of the three classes, described above, on the first day of school. We hope to have all the kinks worked out in the first two weeks of school, and allow for selected class changes as appropriate.

FOR THE PARENTS:  FIRST OF ALL, please do NOT go out and buy or rent a band instrument at this time, whether or not your child is currently assigned to one of the band classes! We will get to instrument selection by the end of the 2nd week of school.

At some point during the first two weeks of school, ALL middle school students will be shown a special "Introduction to Band" video, during which they will see and hear almost all the standard band instruments being played! Another part of this video presents a special music listening test, which we will use to help identify strengths and weaknesses in specific areas of music listening and comprehension. This test will NOT be a "final factor" in deciding whether or not the student 'should' be in is merely a tool in assessing each student's potential for success in playing a band instrument. 

On Thursday, August 29, 2013, between the hours of 5:00pm and 7:00pm, every Grand Ridge School student in grades 6-8 will have an opportunity to come back to the school and participate in a drop-in "horn check." There are no appointment times--just come when you can, student and parent, between 5pm and 7pm. Instrumental music specialists will let each student, with their parents watching, try to play several instruments of their choice. This final assessment allows us to see if they can actually make the initial sounds on the instruments by letting them blow through the instrument mouthpieces themselves, while the specialists hold the actual instruments and guide them on making these initial sounds. From this "horn check", we should be able to help determine which instrument the student is best suited to play.

The instrumental music specialists, who are from a reputable music company, will then be able to assist you in renting or purchasing the best instrument for your child. All the necessary paperwork, to include a down payment, can be completed there at the school. An instrument can then be delivered to Grand Ridge Middle School the following week, to be passed out by Mr. Walton. Only then, when you commit to getting an instrument, will we process a schedule change for your child if you are not already in the band class for your grade in school!



The instrumental (band) program at Grand Ridge School Middle School is "up and running", having given its first performance at the Holiday Concert on Tuesday, December 17, 2013. What a great job they did!


Starting with the new semester in January, 2014, there is now just one band class in the morning, 2nd period, with all band students in one wonderful and enthusiastic class! They are no longer just beginners--they are advanced beginners, and on their way to new and exciting musical challanges!


On Friday, March 7, 2014, we will be taking the GRS Middle School band members on their first field trip, along with the members of the Sneads HS band. We will spend the morning at Chipley High School, observing and "taking notes" as other bands perform at the annual "FBA District Two Concert Band Music Performance Assessment." I sent a letter home Monday, March 3, with full information about this trip. We will leave GRS around 8:15am, listen to 5 or 6 band perform, and write comments about each band on a special "judging" form. Students need to bring money to buy lunch at the Chipley HS Band Boosters Concessions (hamburgers-$2.00, hot dogs-$1.50, candy-$1.00, drinks-$1.00). There is an option to provide a school-prepared sack lunch (PBJ/chips/fruit/drink), with a form that must be turned in to Mr. Walton by Wednesday, March 5; details are in the letter. We will depart Chipley HS around 12:45pm, and get back to GRS around 1:30pm. You can see a copy of this letter by clicking on the "Files" link at the top of this page, then clicking on the file name, "Letter to Parents regarding trip to Chipley HS." If there are any more parents who could accompany us on Friday as chaperones, please call Mr. Walton at Sneads HS (850-482-9004, ext. 252) and leave a message, or e-mail me at


In continuing cooperation with Sneads High School, the Sneads HS Band Boosters would like to have input and support from the parents, guardians, and friends of the Grand Ridge School Middle School Band students. I am in the process of planning several off-campus trips for both groups, in addition to the trip on March 7, and must have the assistance of chaperones from both groups in order for the trips to work! Also, we need the assistance of parents from both groups to assist in fund raising efforts. As such, financial assets collected by mutual fund raising efforts will be shared between both schools, since the good of each school directly affects the good of the other.


All adults interesting in supporting the combined band programs at both Grand Ridge School Middle School and Sneads High School are asked to attend a Band Booster meeting on Tuesday, March 18, at 5:30pm, to be held at the Sneads High School Band Room. I hope to see you there!