Music is our forte

All-State band performs at TMEA concert


Submitted by Sophie Wills

All-State students (from top to bottom, right to left): Ryan Hogarth, Inbo Shim, Nathan Cong, Sophie Wills and Amaan Syed pose with their instruments

Priya Gregerson, Staff Reporter

Five of our very own musician’s hearts raced along the hearts of a hundred more. With closed eyes, one could only imagine this great orchestra as a resurrected ensemble of Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Mozart. Yet with open eyes, surprisingly, the stage was filled with none other than musically gifted youth.

After months of practice, the All-State band performed their concert at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio from Feb 12-15. Five Vandegrift students who were invited to join the All-State band.

“When I first saw the audience, I got so nervous,” Shim said. “But then when I actually got onto the stage I felt more confident because everyone there was listening to us perform.”

The band first arrived in San Antonio Feb 12. The next two days were rehearsal days and on the evening of Feb 15, the All-State band performed in front of hundreds of music educators, composers and TMEA members.

“I made it my goal my freshman year to make it to All-State choir,” Wills said. “I didn’t think I’d ever make it, but here I am.” 

The students who made up the All-State band came from across Texas. Only the musicians deemed most talented in their region secured a place in the band. 

“Getting to meet tons of new people was so fun,” Shim said. “At first it was a little uncomfortable and strange to practice the same music with people I had never met before, but I ended up making a lot of friends that week.”

Being able to perform in the All-State choir at the TMEA is the biggest achievement a band student can obtain. Both Shim and Wills said they had to be consistent with practicing their music inside and outside of school. 

“Practicing is how you get better,” Wills said. “I put a lot of time into practicing my audition music for All-State. Even in sixth grade, I was at the top of our band because of my motivation and dedication to the program. If I hadn’t practiced, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.”

During the All-State concert process, the conductor Frank Kelly introduced the band to many of the composers who had written the pieces the band was going to perform. Wills said it was interesting to hear the voices of the composers and find the meaning behind the songs they performed.

“Without the support of our conductor, our directors and my lesson teacher, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now,” Wills said. “It means a lot to me to be in a community where our band is so supported and loved.”