Four DHS band members chosen to all-state bands
In the world of high school music, being named to the all-state band is the highest honor and a dream come true.
Fortunately for four talented musicians at De Soto High School, that dream became a reality as they performed last weekend with the state's elite.
“I compare it to being named all-state in a sport, but the difference is when you are named all-state in football that’s it,” said Dan Freeman, De Soto High School band director. “But when you are named all-state in band, you get to participate in the all-state band.”
Last Thursday, four the school's upper classmen — Alex Crall, senior, Katie McKeirnan, junior, Derek Smith, junior, and Tommy Strauser, junior — were Wichita bound to rehearse and perform with the best high school musical ensemble the state has to offer.
This was the first year Crall made the all-state band.
He said he had been trying to make the band for the last couple of years but had some difficulties in the audition.
“Last year, I was really nervous,” Crall said. “This year, I had a better feel of what it was going to be like so I was less nervous.”
For McKeirnan, this year’s trip was her second for all-state orchestra.
In the previous year, she made second chair clarinet for the all-state orchestra. This year, her audition bumped her into first chair.
She was happy to see the improvement because she said “auditions don’t always work out that way.”
Her trick for making first chair was practice and previous experience. She said this prepared her mentally for the all-state orchestra auditions.
“You have to go into the audition knowing you are going to do well,” she said. “It’s the a attitude that kind of helps you get started to play at the audition and lots of preparation.”
The trip was also Stauser’s second to Wichita for all-state band.
The flutist said he practiced more this year before the audition and felt better prepared when the time came.
His motto before the all-state band audition was, “always be prepared and don’t get nervous for he audition.”
Smith found himself in new territory.
“I didn’t make state last year, and this year I managed to get into the state band,” he said. “That is a pretty big achievement.”
Smith attributed his success to more experience with his instrument that came about from more practice and private lessons.
Besides the individual achievements reached by these four students, Freeman said the band itself had reached a big achievement by making 15 students eligible for the 2010 all-state band compared to the six kids eligible in 2009.
“That enhances the quality of the program as well as enhances their education,” he said. “The all-state band gives them more musical and life experience. Having those talented kids leading your group helps the whole band program by giving the other kids a kind of band roll model to work off of.”
Besides these four musicians, Andy Rhodes, senior, baritone saxophone; Brianna Rodgers, sophomore, bass clarinet; Parker Riley, sophomore, alto saxophone were named as alternatives.