Student Spotlight: Jewelia Taylor


Yaasmyn Rodriguez, Staff writer

Jewelia Taylor is a 17-year-old senior at Alliance High School. Jewelia has been involved in many activities throughout her high school career, but she says she has, ”definitely been the most involved in with the band.” She has played the clarinet since sixth grade and has been the section leader for the clarinets in the high school band for the last three years. Alongside being the section leader, she has been the drum major for three years, making her a strong leader in the band.

During her years performing she has received the Outstanding Performer Award at District Music Contest three years in a row. She has also been a two-time recipient of the Patrick Gilmore award. This Award is awarded to an outstanding band member in AHS, which is determined by the band director. She has also been accepted into Nebraska All-State three years in a row. Jewelia described it as, “One of the most prestigious honor bands in our state that I have had the honor to participate in.”

Through her years in All-State, Jewelia has improved greatly in her musical ability. As she explains, “The first year I made All-State, I was on the third part. In my junior year, I was on the first part, and this year I was on the second part. I was a little disappointed in myself for not making first part again my second year, but I still tried my hardest practicing the music.” With all her past experience Jewellia was able to manage first chair. “ I could have never imagined that I would be a section leader at All-State, but this year I was placed first chair on my part. Since I was first chair, I also got to play two solos in our pieces.” Obviously, this was a huge accomplishment for Jewelia and a great way to end her All-State experience.“ 

She explained that while at All-State they had a tedious practice schedule. One day they had three, two-hour-long rehearsals.  All-State is a three-day event that is “very demanding”, according to Jewelia.

Since All-State is such a prestigious band it is very hard to get in. Jewelia explains this by saying, “Hundreds of students audition, but only 150 get in.” There is a lot more to the process than just auditioning though. As Jewelia says, ”The audition process for All-State is difficult and requires a substantial time commitment. Typical auditions include a major and minor scale, a full range chromatic scale, a lyrical etude, a technical etude, and an excerpt from the All-State repertoire.” The auditions for All-State is also required to be live. Jewelia explained this by saying, “ you cannot take multiple recordings of yourself and submit the best one. You can only play each part of the audition once. Whatever happens, happens. This was probably the most intimidating part of auditioning for me.”  

The process is much more than just an audition. Most of the work comes after Jewelia said, “Once you find out that you make it into All-State, they send you all of the music for the conference. This music is typically much more complex than most highschool music, ranges from the music levels 5-6+. This music is the most professional level, meaning you really need to know what you are doing.

 During All-State there is an additional audition for chair placement. Jewelia gives her opinion about this audition saying, “This audition is not as daunting as your primary audition, but it can still be quite intimidating. At this audition, the judge will ask you to play excerpts from any of the five All-State pieces.”

The pieces played this year were titled, “Esprit de Corps”, “Fanfare, Hymn”, “Finale”, “Song for Silent Voices”, “University of Nebraska March”, and “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm”. Jewelia only had three and a half weeks to practice all these songs.  

Jewelia explained that the best part about All-State was, “Getting to work with the amazing guest conductors and making friends with people who are just as dedicated as you.” This is Jewelia’s last year being able to participate in this competition because she will be graduating in the spring of 2020.