All the way to All-State: Musicians advance through dedication, meticulous practice


Camden Southwick

Thirteen members of the Coppell High School Band are in San Antonio to perform with other All-State musicians through Saturday. These 13 students have been selected along with approximately 1700 students to perform in an ensemble at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Clinic/Convention in front of thousands of people. Photo by Camden Southwick

Akansha Singh, Staff Writer

This year, 13 Coppell High School students made the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band – the second-highest number of students per school in Texas.

The students advancing to this level – CHS seniors Alice Mae Alford (flute), Jacqueline Palmer (oboe), Seunghyun Chun (clarinet), Terri Rauschenbach (trumpet), Andrew Tao (percussion) and Timothy Joseph (contra clarinet), New Tech High @ Coppell senior Mason Clark (tuba), CHS juniors Jonathan Lai (flute), Samidha Menon (English horn), Joshua Chio (clarinet) and Harini Lenin (euphonium), CHS sophomore Eden Kim (flute) and CHS9 student Arnav Mazumdar (alto saxophone) – represent not only a wide gamut of instruments that they play, but grade level as well.

“Thirteen [students] is a lot from any school,” CHS assistant band director Brandon Slovak said. “That’s a huge accomplishment for us, and I’m happy we have students who have this experience.”

To advance to the All-State round, these students progressed through two rounds of auditions: the All-Region and subsequent Area auditions. As the audition season progressed, the field narrowed; ultimately, All-State band members represent the best of Texas high school musicians.

“It’s one of those once in a lifetime experiences that very few get – about 1% of auditioners make it [to All-State],” Slovak said.

The students are attending the TMEA Clinic/Convention in San Antonio through Saturday, where they re-audition to determine their ranking among themselves, which further determines which ensembles they will perform with during the convention. The students have two days to rehearse concert repertoire with their new ensembles before they perform on Saturday in front of thousands of students, educators and music enthusiasts.

For many of the musicians, making All-State could be considered a pinnacle of their endeavors in music at the high school level.

“It’s truly been one of my biggest dreams since sixth grade,” Lai said.

Many of the students had been working since August on three excerpts that determined whether they would make All-State or not. According to Slovak, this is a feat in itself.

“[Making All-State] is knowing how to prepare,” Slovak said. “It’s not always about being the most musical. It can be, but it’s about how well they’re able to prepare three pieces of music over time. You could have not made All-Region band one year, and make All-State the next year.”

Last year, nine CHS band students advanced to All-State. The increase in students this year could be attributed to the band program’s overall growth.

“The work ethic of these kids is great,” Slovak said. “At the same time, they push each other – all our sections have better quality this year.”

Having qualified for All-State is a recognition for the students’ achievement and hard work dedicated to music – and because of this, they often find similarities between themselves and other All-State students.

“Making All-State is a testament to one’s character and musical skills,” Chun said. “I definitely value these friendships I’ve made [at All-State]. I’m looking forward to being able to see my friends, working with world-class musicians and a sense of camaraderie with the people in my ensemble.”

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