Band students place at all-state competition


VHS Band

All-State Auditionees (left to right) Drew Burky, Pranav Batra and Zach Weiss pose for a picture.

Sumerlyn Yudell and Cady Grace Wynn

After hour upon hour of practice for marching season in the fall, band students begin to prepare for a personal competition- one that blindly determines if their sound and style exceeds the thousands of other participants.

All-state band is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. Around 2,000 students are selected through a process that begins with over 68,000 students from around the state vying for this honor to perform in one of 15 ensembles (bands and orchestras). All-state students participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally recognized conductors during the annual state TMEA Clinic/Convention. Their performances before thousands of attendees bring this extraordinary event to a close. There are multiple all-state concert bands and each one performs a concert on Feb. 16.

Band students blew this competition away with 13 students becoming an area auditionee: Lauren Maunder- Piccolo, Ella Jones- Flute, Sarah Kutz- Oboe, Mukta Valluru- English Horn, Hunter Griesbach- Eb Clarinet, Jackson Hendrie- Bass Clarinet, Inbo Shim- Baritone Saxophone, Paxon Porter- Trumpet, Lena Hadjimina- French Horn, Kurt Wokoek- Trombone, Mark Thompson- Bass Trombone, Israel Ramirez- Percussion, and Cameron Brighton- Percussion.

Three students got the prestigious honor to compete for the final round, All-state, by becoming an All-state auditionee: Pranav Batra- Bass Clarinet, Drew Burky- flute, and Zach Weiss- Clarinet.

“All-state is that little coin of validation for all the hard work you put in the last couple months towards music,” senior French horn player Lena Hadjimani said. “It is in general very independent, with a lot of personal responsibility. It’s whether you want to succeed or not, at that point your directors or teachers don’t really keep track of how you prepare.”

The band students have been preparing for these competitions since they were given etudes (cuts of music) in August, the region audition begins in December and it concludes in February.

“I’ve played in the area room in the area room three times so I know what the audition was like,” All-state auditionee and flute player Drew Burky said. “I was still nervous because this was the last chance for me to make it but i think i was more prepared. I’ve done this all four years of highschool, so the two other times i’ve placed helped a lot. I enjoy doing the competitions, but the practicing and the auditions aren’t super fun, so the truly memorable thing was making it this year.”

Each students competes with their chosen instrument, and shows off their piece by only having the judges hear their sound, not see them play. The difficulty the students face is having other people judge their style and interpretation of the music, but they must hope for the best.

“I got out of the room and sometimes when you do well you don’t necessarily expect it,” senior and bass clarinet player Pranav Batra said. “You always want to assume you didn’t do as good as you think you did. But when my director texted me and said ‘Pranav you got it, it was unanimous’, it was awesome.”

After all the hard work put into this All-State season, the band students spending days practicing their pieces, loving the instrument they play can play a big role in inspiring them to keep playing.

“My instrument has been something i’ve been playing for the past several years,” Batra said. “It’s a very versatile instrument that you can use in Jazz and Classical music, I love playing it, it’s therapeutic for me. Whenever i’m stressed out or in a tough situation, I can always overcome it just by playing, it frees you and liberates you in some sense.”