Stephenville HS students selected as top two Texas All-State Jazz musicians

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Jace Willis and Reagan Drake, members of the Stephenville HS Yellow Jacket Band have been selected as 1st and 2nd chair trumpet in the Texas All-State 4A Jazz Ensemble. They were chosen for this honor through a competitive process held this year across the state at District, Region and Area levels. This is the 2nd time both students have been selected to an All-State group.

All students perform with the Yellow Jacket marching band and symphonic band with the Yellow Jacket jazz ensemble. Jace is the son of Laura and Mark Willis, and Reagan is the son of Lance and Stephanie Drake. Both Jace and Reagan are trumpet students of Dr. Brian Walker on the Tarleton Band Faculty.

“I was very excited when I heard the news that they were selected to the all-state groups, even more so to be the top two in the state.” says Director of Bands Mike Childs. “This is a huge accomplishment for both of them and will be a singular experience. They’ve put in a great deal of time preparing their music and we’re extremely proud to have them named to the all-state jazz group.”

The students will be working with nationally recognized jazz educator Dr. Robert Washut from Northern Iowa University as their director and will rehearse with the other all-state jazz members to prepare for their concert at the end of the Texas Music Educator’s Association convention in February.

High school students selected to perform in the All-State Concerts have competed through several levels of auditions beginning in the fall of 2014 to arrive at the state level. All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. Over 1,500 students are selected through a process that began with over 55,000 students from around the state vying for this honor to perform in one of 13 ensembles (bands, orchestras and choirs).

Texas Music Educators Association sponsors the Texas All-State competition. This competitive process begins throughout the state in auditions hosted by 28 TMEA Regions. Individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete against musicians from other areas in seven TMEA Area competitions.

The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group. These All-State students participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally-recognized conductors during the TMEA Clinic/Convention. Their performances for thousands of attendees bring this extraordinary event to a close.

The Texas Music Educators Association is an association of over 10,000 school music educators dedicated to promoting excellence in music education. Go to www.tmea.org for more information.

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