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Dedicated Band Members Advance to State

Rachael Ussery, Editor-in-Chief

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After many months of practicing, making sure every note, rhythm and dynamics are on beat and correct, ten students will advance to the State Solo and Ensemble contest in Austin next month, May 28.

The soloists who advanced are seniors Hayes Waterman on bass clarinet, Everett Noel on string bass, and sophomore Thomas Dvorak on trumpet. The ensembles that advanced are the saxophone quartet with Karl Davila, Jacob Goebel, Wyatt Smither and Hayes Waterman, and the flute quartet with Janelle Aldape, Kyndal Klose, Mercedes Rivera, and Anna Sherwood.

“To make state is pretty challenging for soloists having to memorize the piece,” head band director Eric McNiel said. “The ensembles are just as hard because they have to deal with multiple people.”

The band students practice for months before competing at the Regional level, and for the months following Regionals for State as well.

“The overall goal is to make a first division, which is difficult,” McNiel said. “A [first division at Region equals a third division at State. So, if you don’t get any better, you’re going to make a three.”

McNiel has high hopes for his students to become music majors, and enjoys every year he gets to spend with them.

“What I’m most proud of is they take the initiative themselves to work it all up, then come to us for help,” McNiel said. “This is something they do on their own. That’s the proudest thing for me– they have the drive to do it.”

Senior Hayes Waterman has always had a passion for music and is excited to compete at State with his bass clarinet, Delilah, and his baritone saxophone, Little Bobby.

“I love my instruments. I love playing them, and I love the challenge,” Waterman said.

Waterman is not shy when it comes to playing his instruments, and this is his second time to compete at the State Solo and Ensemble contest. He keeps a positive, yet humble outlook.

“I want to do the best that I can do,” Waterman said. “I want to make a first division, but what I get is what I deserve.”

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