Band breaks records

13 students make TMEA All-State Band


Submitted by Eric Parmelee

Eric Parmelee and other band students pictured playing their instruments.

This year, a record-breaking 13 Vandegrift students were accepted into the TMEA All-State band.

“I was really excited when I made it,” junior Eric Parmelee said. “I was surprised, I remember looking at it, I was like whoa wait what. It’s just huge, it’s an exciting feeling.”

For auditions, students progressed through stages, starting at the regional level and going up to the area level, which determines their eligibility for the All-State band.

“A challenging part was knowing that I was auditioning against some of the best musicians in the state of Texas and trying to not get intimidated by it,” senior Sangjune Lee said. “Balancing school work and practice was hard. Sometimes, I’d feel zoomed out and just unmotivated to practice. Digging in and practicing those days was a mental challenge.”

The audition process this year brought more challenges than usual due to COVID-19 restrictions. Rather than attend in person auditions, students sent in videos of themselves performing the audition pieces.

“My favorite part from the process is when we would play for a small group of people in class. There would be breakout rooms made so that people would feel less pressure yet still get feedback about their progress,” Lee said. “Not only did I get to connect with other band members, I also got great feedback and grew resilient to the nerves from playing in front of a crowd.”

Despite the challenges that came with this year’s auditions, for those who made it through the final cut, the process was a rewarding one.

“For band I’m looking forward to getting to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” Parmelee said. “I’m excited to keep working on my jazz playing and everything and staying focused on that. As well as the band directors helping me as more of an individual than as a full group. It’s helping me with my own playing which is something that’s important to me.”

With a record number of students making it to All-State this year, for band students, the only way is up. Lee is one of many who are looking forward to the future of VHS band.

“When I found out that I made it, it felt rewarding,” Lee said. “It made me feel glad I put in all the time and effort into practicing.”