EVART - A few weeks ago the Evart High School Band accomplished something few bands ever get to experience.During the first week of May, the band of about 35 student musicians participated in the state high school band competition in Big Rapids. The band was judged on their performance and received the best rating possible — a Division One rating.

This was the first time in about 50 years the Evart High School Band received such high marks, said band director Diana Craven.

Craven has been working as the band director for nine years. For the past seven years the band has been receiving division one ratings at district competition, which then allows them to compete at the state level.

But this was the first time in recent history the band actually chose to go through with participating at the state competition.

“Not many bands even go because it’s difficult to get a one at state,” Craven said.

Though it is known as a competition, there really are no winners, losers or places. Each band simply receives a grade.

When the awarded grades were announced Craven was surprised to hear how well they had done.

“A lot of directors never get a division one rating in their entire careers,” she said. “It was so exciting.”

Craven said the students were also very excited about their accomplishment.

They worked extremely hard this year to get up to that level, she said.

Evart High School principal Al Kullman said he was proud of the band’s achievements in district and state competition.

“They have done really well for the last handful of years,” he said.

“These students are very talented, hardworking and dedicated,” Kullman said. “They are nice kids and exceptional people.”

The middle school band also went to state competition and received a rating of two overall.

The amount of effort each band put into practicing ultimately taught students a good life lesson, Craven said.

“They deserve what they got,” she said. “They learned if you work hard it pays off most of the time.”