The Georgia Music Educator Association District 10 High School band auditions were held last Saturday at Thomson High School. More than 500 students from the Central Savannah River Area auditioned for chairs in the District 10 Concert and Symphonic bands.
Thomson High Band Director Jessie Morlan announced Monday that 40 THS students auditioned for the parts, with 10 making the top 20 of the 100 chairs. Seven alternates were also selected.
"This is on the top end for a school our size. It's awesome," Mr. Morlan said. "I'm very proud of them. They've been working hard."
Mr. Morlan said each student had to play the 12 major scales and arpeggios and the chromatic scales from memory in front of a panel of judges. Then they were given a piece of music they had never seen before, given 30 seconds to sight read it and then play it. Judges consisted of the school band directors from District 10, which were divided among the categories. Students participated on a voluntary basis.
This is the third year for Thomson senior Kalyn Kitchings to make second chair for the tenor saxophone section. Kalyn said she cried at the end of her audition, because she realized it was her last time to participate.
"It is exciting, but I was narrowly beat for first chair," she said. "It was so close, so I was like, 'arrgh!' I guess second chair is my place in life."
Every district in the state has a district band, according to Mr. Morlan. The concert band consists of ninth and 10th grades and the symphonic band is 11th and 12th grades. In February, the students who made the District 10 band will meet in Evans and work with special guest conductors for three days before performing in a concert.
According to GMEA District 10 Chairman, John Hillsman, the district includes Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Jefferson, Lincoln, McDuffie, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Taliaferro, Warren, Washington and Wilkes Counties, with the bulk of the students coming from Columbia and Richmond.
"The rural districts are a little more spread out," Mr. Hillsman said. "We've got a unique mixture of rural, inner city and urban in this district. But it's a very cohesive district and everybody works well together."
This is the third year Thomson High School has hosted the event, which is organized by THS Assistant Band Director Emme Hines.
"She does just a wonderful job with it. This is the third year she's done it and she's just super good at it," Mr. Hillsman said. "It turned out awesome."
Mr. Morlan said the District band is the first level of the competition, and the students will move on to auditions for the all-state level in January. The all-state band will practice and perform in Savannah at the end of February and the first of March.
Students who made the District 10 band:
Concert Band (ninth and 10th grade): Rachel Myers (12th chair clarinet), Sarah Kellogg (fourth chair alto sax), Matt McHatton (ninth chair trumpet).
Symphonic Band (11th and 12th grade): Jessica McCollum (eighth chair clarinet), Jessica Harris (15th chair clarinet), Takiya Grant (20th chair clarinet), Kalyn Kitchings(second chair tenor sax), Andrea Culpepper (eighth chair horn), Colton Drain (14th chair trumpet), Tim Pounds (second chair trombone).
Alternates: Cody Adkins (first alternate bassoon), Ben Colberg (first alternate trombone), Sarah Bass (second alternate flute), Christian Morris (first alternate bass clarinet), Ashley Mims (first alternate clarinet), Gloria Rowland (second alternate euphonium), Aaron Dixon (first alternate mallets)
Eight Thomson Middle School band members and four alternates also were selected for the District 10 Honor Band: Carson McCarty (12th chair flute), Jeremy Randall (first alternate oboe), Taylor Whitaker (15th chair clarinet), Kenierra Neloms (16th chair clarinet), Kathyrn Bermudez (fourth alternate clarinet), Brittney Turner (second chair bass clarinet), Noah Lewis (first alternate baritone sax), Hannah Welch (seventh chair French horn), Ethan Dowler (third chair trombone), Lance Tripp (fourth chair trombone), Nikki Johnson (principal mallets percussion), Amanda Newsome (second alternate percussion).