Fifty-five band students from Sulphur Springs Middle School recently traveled to Texarkana for the 2012 Region 4 Texas Music Educators Aassociation’s Middle School All-Region Band auditions.
These students prepared two musical selections in advance, practicing throughout the fall semester and putting in many extra hours of work for these auditions that included competitiors from across the region, spanning from Texarkana to Greenville.
The students performed the two pieces for three judges who then placed each auditioner in order. To be named to the band’s roster, the student must place in the top portion of their instrument’s class, essentially beating out other students from other comparable school band programs.
“We had a goal of 32 students making the region band this year and issued a challenge to the students to meet that goal and to work their absolute hardest.” said Spencer Emmert, head director. “We all were so excited when the final numbers showed that we had exceeded our goal and were one of only three schools to have the majority of the students honored.”
SSMS placed 35 students in these all-star bands. Students named to the top or symphonic band were Tori Mattison on flute, Emma Boyett on oboe, Kate Flores and Natalie Contreras on clarinet, Kim Weems on alto saxophone, Christian Corona on trumpet, Jesse Allen, Cara Proctor and Emily Johnson on French horn, Pete Rios on trombone, Cy Killam on tuba and Josiah Ivery on percussion.
“We are so proud of all of the students who auditioned. Even those who were not named to the region band represented Sulphur Springs well,” said assistant director Robert McDaniel. “Along with those mentioned, we had several students who most-likely will get to attend the clinic and concert being named as alternates to the groups.”
Students named to the concert band were Sarah Anderson, Malarie White and Jaime Stahl on flute, Natalie Cruz, Johnny Le Carson Folmar and Carissa Carter on clarinet, Owen Lee and Seth Womack on alto saxophone, Sydnee Hawkins on baritone saxophone, Mollie Gibbins, Quenten Reed, Nikki Cline and Nathan Tiegiser on trumpet, Maria Mejia and Israel Hernandez on French horn, Mariah McCord on trombone, Tommy Helfferich and Sam Ponce on tuba, Alex Motes, Josh Whitten-Edwards, Andrew Foster and Zach Burgin on percussion.
“A special congratulations goes to Carissa Carter who was the only sixth grader to make the band and the first [sixth grader] in SSMS history to earn a spot,” Emmert noted. “Carissa has only been playing her instrument for a few months and has really excelled in a special way.”
These students will travel back to Texarkana on Saturday, Dec. 8, to participate in this year’s All-Region clinic, culminating with a concert at 4 p.m. in the brand new TISD Performing Arts Center.
The concert is free and everyone is welcome.
According to Emmert, assistant directors Robert McDaniel and Jennifer Turner were pivotal in helping prepare these students. McDaniel is a brass instrument specialist, while Turner is a woodwind specialist.
“As always, we as a middle school band staff are continuing to push the students to new levels,” Emmert said. “The students’ pride and push for achievement continues to amaze us. We are so proud of their dedication and hard work.”
Many parents traveled to the audition to support the students and the band program.
“It is so neat to have so many students being honored as individuals. So often band is a team event, but this is an opportunity for our kids to stand out in new ways,” said Turner.
The public is also invited to attend the band’s annual Christmas concert to be held on Thursday, Dec. 6, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center auditorium. The concert is free and open to anyone.
– Spencer Emmert contributed to this report.
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