Making honorable music
Alex Crall and Becca Roberts aspire to what Alex Prosser has achieved.
De Soto High School senior Prosser has been selected to the Kansas Music Educator All-State Band. She will take her flute to Wichita in late February for two days of rehearsal and a performance with others in the band at Wichita State University. The band will play under the direction of Jack Stamp, a music professor and director of bands at Indiana University in Pennsylvania.
"I think the conductor will be really good," Prosser said. "We're playing one of his pieces. It should be a very memorable experience."
To earn the state band designation, Prosser first had to be named to district band, which she did for the third-straight year. It was an audition process in which she had to perform for judges screened from her sight.
As a freshman not eligible to compete for district or state band, Prosser auditioned and made the junior Sousa band. Although in the Sousa audition process she submitted a tape, she said the experience helped her later attempts to win recognition.
"All audition things help," she said. "It doesn't make it easy, but it does prepare you a little."
Freshmen Crall and Roberts were named to this year's junior Sousa band, which performed Saturday in Lawrence after rehearsing Friday and the morning of the performance. There were actually two bands, with Crall playing with the higher-level blue band and Roberts the red band.
They said making the Sousa band gave them recognition among the other band members at the school.
De Soto High School instrumental band director Justin Love said making the Sousa band was a step to building leaders for the program.
Those leaders can be out front as drum majors or by setting examples of excellence within the band, such as Prosser has done this year, Love said. Prosser is one of those this year, he said.
Crall and Roberts see different leadership roles ahead. Roberts said she would like to follow in the footsteps of her sister Melissa, who was a Wildcat drum major in the fall of 2004. Crall would rather follow Prosser's example.
"I think I'd just like to play in the band and lead by playing," he said.
De Soto High School band members keep busy with nine months of activities that start with marching band in the fall and end with spring state festivals and other festivals.
Roberts said this was the time of year for her favorite band activity.
"I like pep band," she said. "There's a lot more activity."
Prosser said her favorite activity was marching band.
"The performances were always the most fun -- I just didn't like the early morning practices. I'll miss it next year."
Prosser is applying for numerous colleges with strong academic reputations like Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Washington University in St. Louis.
"I thinking about something with biology," she said of her future course of studies. "I always want to do something with music, as well."
De Soto High School band members Melissa Just, Rebekah Gulley, Jenna Hodges, James Ingalls, Jake Petty and Scott Ireland were also selected to the all-district band.