Stand-Up Guy: SSMS student answers to 'Mr. Bass,' and with good reason

From Staff Reports

Nov. 19, 2004 - Sulphur Springs Middle School student Mason Y'Barbo answers to the name of "Mr. Bass," and not just because he was plucking away in the All-Region orchestra Saturday at Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler.

Y'Barbo was the only SSMS seventh grader to be qualified by Teresa Vosse, Sulphur Springs Independent School District Strings instructor, to audition for the Middle School All-Region Orchestra at tryouts held Oct. 16 in Kilgore.

He'd tried out one year before, the only sixth grade bass player from all area schools that went to the regional tryout. The basses were the first to audition, and he was the first to perform for judges at that competition. He placed 4th as alternate, ahead of many students with more experience.

This year, he was the last bassist, and the basses were the last to audition - and there were four more bass players trying out this year than did last year. Because of a registration mix-up, he was listed only as "Mr. Bass," and when the rankings were posted,"Mr. Bass" listed as 4th chair. When people started asking, "Who's Mr. Bass?" Y'Barbo announced with some measure of pride, "That's me."

"We are all very proud of Mason for his hard work," Vosse said. "He did such a good job."

Y'Barbo has been in the Sulphur Springs ISD Strings program since kindergarten, making the switch from violin to bass last year. He has attended a select camp for bass players at the University of North Texas in Denton for the past two summers, thanks in part to members of the Junior Symphony League, who gave a partial scholarship the first summer. This summer he was moved up from the beginner group to the intermediate group after only 1 year on the instrument.

In the spring, he was asked by SSMS Band Director Kelly Fletcher to begin playing with the middle school Jazz Band, the first time a strings student has become a part of the band.

The closest area schools that have orchestra programs are in Tyler, Kilgore, Marshall and Longview. Y'Barbo was the sole representative from Sulphur Springs to be performing with the select orchestra at their concert Saturday.

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