Twice the Honor

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Twice the Honor

Margaret Hoff, Web Editor

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All-State band is one of the most distinguished honor bands a high school student can achieve. This year we had two Alliance High students attend this conference; furthermore, this is both of the musicians’ second year in attendance. Both Jewelia Taylor and Rachel Baker made the cut yet again this year. This being their second year, they had much more experience with the environment of the band and had a lot more to say about their experiences.

Jewelia Taylor is a junior clarinet player. She is a very accomplished instrumentalist, and musician as a whole, as one needs to be when trying out for any honor band. Rachel Baker is a senior french horn player who is just as accomplished, if not more from her seniority, as Taylor. Both of these students are top of their class, and are majorettes for the marching band.

Losing all that extra practice time during class from being a majorette may seem like it would make auditioning for All-State harder, but both of these girls are very hard workers with great work ethic. If you ever drop by the band room, you will more than likely see both students practicing almost every day. So, this didn’t really stop either musician, even if they had to dig into their personal time to practice.

Both girls agreed that this year their auditions were much better than their last, seeing as they have both grown immensely as instrumentalists in the past year. They also claimed they were much better prepared for everything this year. And, although both were confident in being selected again, Jewelia said she was a little iffy on her audition tape.

“I just felt like I had a really bad audition. So, after I did my audition, I kinda accepted that I wouldn’t be going back because I didn’t think that it was up to standards. But, yes I did expect to make it because it’s rare for an All-Stater to make it one year and then not make it the next year.”

Even though Jewelia had a little bit of a doubt, both girls were very well prepared for the band. Rachel claimed that they were much better prepared because of the fact that “you know what it takes to make it after you have once, so you want to not only meet those expectations but you want to surpass them.”

Last year, seeing as they were both newcomers, they said that the environment was a bit intimidating. They, of course, spoke to other musicians but it wasn’t super comfortable. Jewelia said, “When you go there the first time you’re just trying to figure out your surroundings, but now you can build off of knowing your surroundings already.” Rachel even jokingly claimed, “Honestly the first time I was just like, ‘I’m just glad to be here, this is so cool I got in.’” Whereas, this year she had more of the mindset of, “I have to get in, I have to have a good chair, I have to have a good experience.”

Both Rachel and Jewelia reached, if not surpassed, the expectations Rachel spoke of. Jewelia Taylor moved up two parts in the band. Last year she was placed to play third part, but this year she moved all the way up to first part. Rachel also did a lot of improving, making an even bigger jump. Rachel moved all the way from fourth part to first. These changes really validated a feeling of improvement within both girls.

But, those weren’t the only things different from last year. Rachel specifically said she wanted to have a good experience, and both girls did. Seeing as both were past the awkward phase this year, they were much more social and open. They knew what they were doing so they could really branch out and make the experience even greater. They were even already acquainted with some of the students. Rachel said she sat with a group of kids that already knew each other, so she was almost forced to socialize, but she still had a great time. “It was good, I liked all the kids I met.”

Both girls were also very happy with the music they were playing. Rachel said, “[Our instructor] really chose music that kids liked. Like, I liked all the songs that we played. It made me want to practice more and made my practices more productive.” Jewelia agreed with this statement. They also both agreed that the music seemed easier than last year, but that was probably due to their improvements.

Along with 150 other students from around the state, they performed “The Washington Post March,” “Dusk,” “Dance Diabolique,” “Russian Christmas Music,” and “Synergy Rising.” on November 16. They both had a great time and made lots of memories that they won’t forget any time soon.


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