Oswald earns first chair at All-State

Published 2:48 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Montevallo High School student Kenny Oswald recently earned first chair in the regional All-State auditions.  (contributed)

Montevallo High School student Kenny Oswald recently earned first chair in the regional All-State auditions. (contributed)

By MICHELLE ADAMS/Community columnist

“Kenny has a natural, innate musicianship that is impossible to teach.”

This statement, made by Montevallo High School Band Director Perry Lawley, describes musically talented senior Kenny Oswald, who earned first chair in the regional All-State auditions held in mid-January.

Since seventh grade, Oswald has played the euphonium, a brass instrument that he said “sounds similar to a French horn, but looks like a tuba.” It is a unique instrument that Oswald has embraced since being encouraged in middle school to play it rather than the trombone. This most recent accomplishment marks his euphonium talents as among the elite in the state.

To achieve All-State honors, Oswald had to compete in his district by playing two prepared pieces, all major scales, two minor scales and completing a piece via sight reading. After being scored against other euphonium musicians, Oswald earned his top placement and the opportunity to compete against first chairs from other districts for his position in the All-State Red Band, the premier group, at the All-State Festival to be held in Huntsville in April. After the tryouts for chair placement, the All-State band will rehearse a number of pieces to perform for the public.

Those who know Oswald are not surprised by his success. He has previously attended All-State, and this school year has achieved second chair at the UAB Festival Band, first chair at All-County and 2nd chair at the Florida State Honor Band. He will even be attending the University of Southern Mississippi Honor Band this weekend.

“Kenny possesses an innate sense of musicality not present in every player,” Lawley said. “He nurtures his talent through opportunities in musical performance all around the Southeast. His talents coupled with a tremendous work ethic have brought Kenny true success. He should be a model for all students as proof that hard work and drive can elevate anyone to higher planes of success.”

Oswald balances his achievements in band with a challenging AP and honors academic course load, including AP Music Theory. He is also a member of the Scholar’s Bowl team, Peacemakers and the Math Team. Being challenged is a driving force in his choice of academics as well as his music.

“Music is never boring,” Oswald said. “It is constantly evolving and there is always something different about each piece. Nothing in music is easy; it’s challenging, and I love a good challenge.”