Band achieves most placed all-region students in history

Sophomore+Kylee+Thomason+practices+her+piece%3A+%22Sonate+Pour+Saxophone+Alto%3B+Part+3+%26+4%22+by+Telemann.+Thomason+has+been+playing+saxophone+since+fifth+grade.

Matt Bolden

Sophomore Kylee Thomason practices her piece: “Sonate Pour Saxophone Alto; Part 3 & 4” by Telemann. Thomason has been playing saxophone since fifth grade.

Beginning mid-November, band students from different schools in the region competed in a series of two phases for all-region. This year, 29 students from the high school placed in the TMEA all-region band, which is the most in the school’s history.

“We were incredibly excited and proud,” assistant band director Daniel King said. “This is a milestone we have been building towards for five years now. We have shown slow and consistent growth each year, but to finally break through this year, especially considering the difficult circumstances that our students have faced, is very exciting and gratifying. We could not be more proud of our students.”

Eleven students placed in the highest ensemble, four students placed 1st overall, and 18 students qualified for area auditions. These achievements outranked all other schools. Ten students placed 1st in 5A, which is more than all other 5A schools.   

“This competition is really important to me because we spend months working on these etudes, and it finally pays off when we audition,” freshman all-region band flutist Tamanna Verma said. “The results help me understand where I am right now and how I can improve.”

The all-region competition has two phases. Phase 1 is open to all students from the region. Phase 2 takes the top 25-30 percent of students that competed in phase 1. Some of the students that competed in phase 2 will move on to qualify for area, where they will compete against many regions across Texas. Area qualifiers are currently recording for that competition.

Making all-region is a recognition and affirmation of their hard work and dedication,” King said. “The process of preparing for the all-region audition takes a significant commitment of time and energy. We often tell our students that the goal of the process is the musical growth that they achieve as a result of the work, but to be chosen as a member of all-region band is a great reward at the end of the process.”

This year, all-region took place virtually as a COVID-19 safety measure. Students submitted recordings of the excerpts to be judged.

“The audition experience this year was a lot different from the ones in the past years,” Verma said. “The auditions took place over a span of a few days, so you had more time to submit the perfect recording. It also helped that you could redo your recording to pick the best one. The experience was a lot less stressful than usual years, and I felt reassured.”

Typically, students that make all-region band participate in a concert with other students across the region. However, with COVID-19 restrictions, the concert was cancelled.

“Even though we cannot have the concert this year, we challenged the kids to still thrive on things that they can,” band director Paul Heuer said. “Individual performances are the best things our kids can concentrate on this year, and it paid off.”