C-P student named to Nat'l FFA Band

From Staff Reports

Oct. 16, 2008 - Austin Baxley, tenor sax player for the Como-Pickton Eagles marching band, is headed for the national stage. The C-P sophomore is one of 95 Future Famers of America members selected to perform before more an audience of more than 54,000 at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis next week.

The band will perform at various events during the 81st National FFA Convention, adding excitement and motivation to the sessions through their music, according to a press release from the national organization.

Baxley, 15, submitted an audition tape and was one of 10 FFA members from Texas to be chosen from a pool of over 150 applicants.

"I played a solo," Baxley said. "I took 'The Old Rugged Cross,' one of the older songs from our church songbook, and played part of it."

Melissa Brassard, C-P agriculture science teacher, said she and band director Jeremy Wofford helped get Austin's videotape together.

"We entered Austin on a whim," Brassard said. "We were thrilled when he was selected."

Baxley was taken a little off guard when he found out he had made the cut.

"I was surprised," he said. "I didn't know I was going to get it, considering all the people trying out for it. I was really happy."

Wofford is proud of his proteg.

"It's very good for him to be able to do this," Wofford said. "It's such an honor, too. He gets to represent himself and his school at the national level."

Wofford said that Baxley is not only a good band student, but a leader as well.

"He deserves this opportunity," Wofford explained. "We're really proud of him. He's definitely one of our leaders. It's been fun to watch him play and learn."

In order to rehearse for the performances next week, Baxley, the son of L.D. and Sherry Baxley, and Brassard will fly to Indianapolis on Saturday, three days before his classmates join him for the annual convention. Brassard will come back, then drive the rest of the members up for the gathering, making a stop in Little Rock, Ark., to see the Clinton Presidential Library.

"For the first few days, it will be just the band and the choir getting ready for the convention," Baxley explained. "It will be a new thing for me to play with that many people. Our band is, like, about 20."

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