Local students attend collegiate honor bands
This past weekend, band students from Luverne High School and Highland Home School had the chance to compete in the Troy University South Eastern United States (SEUS) Honor Band and the University of Alabama’s 2017 Honor Band.
“Kids apply to the SEUS Honor Band, Troy selects who they want to select and then they go and audition for their chair,” said LHS Band Director Jonathan Chance.
“They then participate in whatever band they are placed in. We had some in pretty much each band, except Cardinal Band. There were Gold, Silver, Bronze and Cardinal Band they could be in.”
Chance said that the students practiced all day on Friday, and wrapped up the weekend with a concert on Saturday.
LHS band student and freshman Maggie Hargis enjoyed her first experience at Troy University, and later hopes to continue her education there.
“When I first walked in, it was kind of scary because of all of the people, but it was still cool. It was awesome,” she said.
“It was hectic, but it was also very calming to me. I had a great experience and I’m very excited to try and go again.”
Hargis is a clarinet player, and was selected to perform in the Silver Band while at SEUS.
Hargis says that once she is in college, she plans to keep clarinet as her primary instrument while also learning tenor saxophone; she hopes this will enable her to perform in jazz band and other ensembles.
Ben Fuller, HHS sophomore and tuba player, also enjoyed his first taste of SEUS, and hopes to make the cut again next year.
“It was one of the best band experiences I’ve ever had, and I made a whole bunch of friends,” he says.
While it is not set in stone, Fuller says he has entertained the idea of attending Troy University after high school. Fuller also notes that his biggest take away from the weekend was the people he met.
While her fellow band mates were attending SEUS, Audrey Gilbert, HHS freshman and clarinet player, had the chance to travel to Tuscaloosa and perform in the University of Alabama’s 2017 Honor Band.
“The biggest thing that I took away from it was being apart of a really big band and getting to meet new people,” she said.
“You get to experience sitting beside people in band that you don’t always get to sit beside, and you get to learn a lot.”
Gilbert says she also was able to participate in a master class while there, which gave her more knowledge on the structure of her instrument.
Stan Lawton, first year band director for HHS, is glad to see his students having the opportunities to attend these collegiate honor bands.
“It’s a good idea to get them in so young, especially in the middle and high school, to really get them used to playing a lot of different styles of music from a lot of different people,” he said.
“And they get to go on a college campus and kind of see what college life is kind of like. It also helps them figure out where they want to go to continue their education.”