Students Make All-State Band And Choir

Seniors Christiana Ussery, Kaitlyn Groth, and junior Nicole Hines made the All-State band. Ussery has made the band for three consecutive years.

Andrea Hernandez, Staff Writer

Band and choir students auditioned at the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) and Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) for a chair in the All-State band and choir. Six total students earned spots in both ATSSB and TMEA All-State and will attend the clinics in February.

“I am very proud of the perseverance shown by these three talented young singers,” Director of Choirs Kerry Baham said. “Being a Texas All State Musician puts our students in the most elite high school ensembles in the country.”

Senior Gracie Day placed first in the All-State choir audition along with senior Sarah Kramer and freshman Elijah McGuire. McGuire is the first freshman in the school’s history to earn a spot in the All-State choir.

“I’m very honored of course because it’s really difficult. There are doubts and nerves especially as a freshman because you have to put a lot of effort into it,” McGuire said. 

The All-State choir clinic will be held in San Antonio. They will rehearse music for seven hours a day for four days a week at the clinic to prepare for a concert with the other members of the choir. 

“I am so thankful to have made it to state,” Kramer said. “Last year I was really close to making it, so I was determined to work hard and make it happen.”

The three students competed and prepared by rehearsing and competing with three songs and a sight reading piece. They competed at region, pre-area, and then area where the top seven chairs qualified for state.

“It was a long process with many competitions to get where I am now,” McGuire said. “Next year, I plan to try even harder and make a higher chair than I did.”

Senior Christiana Ussery and junior Nicole Hines both placed first at area with Ussery auditioning on alto clarinet and Hines on flute, along with senior Kaitlyn Groth placing second on the flute. Ussery is the first person to make the All-State band for three consecutive years. 

It’s a very exciting feeling and also just a joy to be able to see how your hard work can pay off,” Ussery said. “I spend every day practicing and working towards that so it’s just nice to know that my ability to play can get me to this spot.”

The All-State band clinic will be held in the Convention Center Hemisfair Ballroom along with a concert at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio. At the clinic, the members of the band will try out again and get a new chair placement and from then begin practicing their concert music in three hour segments at least three to four times a day.

“I am so excited to travel to San Antonio and participate in the All-State process again,” Groth said. “Getting to do this process one final time for my senior [year] is something I will never forget.”

The students prepare for the audition by learning a page of scales and two etudes with one being technical and fast and one slower and musical. They competed at region and advanced to audition at area where they placed in a top chair and qualified for the All-State band.

“In order to earn a spot in the All-State Band, I have practiced my page of scales and two etudes for around eight hours every week since August,” Hines said. “Even though it was a lot of hard and sometimes tedious work, I’m glad it paid off in the end.”