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Jefferson sets record for All?State Band

By Staff | Jan 20, 2012

Submitted photo All-State Band students are shown, front row, from left, Maura Ross, Bassoon; Samantha Yates, Clarinet; Sydney Yates, Flute; Emilie Myers, Bass Clarinet; Tyler Offutt, Alto Saxophone. Back row: Marie-Charlotte deBuchananne, Flute; John Bryant, Trombone; Devin Torbidoni, Trumpet; Antrim Ross, Oboe; Brad Myers, Trombone.

Jefferson High School has had 10 students selected as members of the All-State Band which will perform in Morgantown in March. According to JP Lynch, band director, this is a record number of students for this honor in one year. Eight of the students were selected for the All-State Band while two chose to participate in the All-State Orchestra.

Last year, Jefferson had seven students selected, which was a high number as well. According to Lynch, most schools typically have only a small number of students selected. Two or three other schools typically have 10 or more, he said, but those schools are all located around the Charleston area.

“To put it in perspective,” Lynch said, “15 students from our eight-county region were selected. Ten of those were from JHS and five from the other schools combined. In our region, no other school had more than one student selected.”

Lynch said that 18 of his students traveled to Fairmont for auditions last week. The auditions were blind auditions, meaning that the judges were blocked from seeing the students so that there could be no bias in the decision-making process.

Shepherdstown’s Emilie Myers was one of the students selected for this high honor.

“I worked really hard,” she said, “but I was really shocked and surprised to make it.” Emilie is a junior at JHS and plays the bass clarinet. Of approximately 12 individuals trying out for four spots, Emilie was one chosen.

“It was a very tense atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone was nervous.”

Emilie’s brother, Brad, was also selected for the All-State Band. The two siblings joined two other sets of siblings chosen from Jefferson. Others included Samantha and Sydney Yates and Maura and Antrim Ross.

Lynch attributed the unusual occurrence of siblings to the focus on music by the students’ families as well as to the students who work hard at something they enjoy.

“These kids choose to be in band,” he said. “They are highly motivated and want to be here to make music.” He went on to say that their excitement and desire to play makes his job the best in the world.

Senior Marie deBuchananne, of Harpers Ferry, said that this year’s tryouts were a little easier for her because she had participated in them last year.

“It’s a little intimidating having no visual contact with the judges,” she said. “The second time was not so nerve-racking.” deBuchananne was not selected in last year’s auditions and was very excited to be chosen this year.

The students will travel to Morgantown to West Virginia University Mar. 15-17 to work with chest conductors. Charles Burke will serve as the guest orchestra conductor while Travis Cross will be the band conductor. Following two days of intense practice, the state groups will perform in a concert at the Creative Arts Center for up to 1,200 audience members.