RMS students selected for ABA All-State, collegiate honor bands
Published 3:09 pm Wednesday, February 24, 2016
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Several Riverchase Middle School students were selected to participate in various collegiate honor bands throughout the state, and four students were invited to participate in the Alabama Bandmasters Association’s All-State band.
Amber Sides, Cody Monday, Anna Wilkes and Gavin Taylor were chosen as four of only twenty-three students from Jefferson and Shelby counties through a difficult audition process.
“I feel very excited,” Wilkes said. “I’ve been practicing since last summer, and I’ve been playing the clarinet since fifth grade. I take a lot of pride in this because it is a lot of hard work.”
All of the students expressed excitement for their accomplishment, and Monday added his relief that he made it through the audition process. He’s been playing the trumpet for four years.
Sides is also a trumpet player and she’s been playing for about five years. Taylor started playing the trombone in sixth grade.
“(I’m excited about) learning new levels of music and playing with people you’ve never played with before,” Monday said.
Wilkes and Sides said they are most excited about learning new music and sight reading, meeting new friends from across the state and having an experience with another conductor.
“It’s like seeing a lot of people that have a lot of expertise in the area that you have,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be cool seeing a lot of people there that can play your instrument.”
All the students will learn the new music after travelling to Mobile in April for the festival.
Getting to the festival was “nerve-racking,” according to the students because they couldn’t see their judges during the audition. They later found out that Pelham High School’s band director, Justin Ward, was one of the judges.
Hearing other people practice and watching other students being told they didn’t make it was particularly difficult, according to Monday.
The collegiate honor band students were recommended and selected from over 250 applicants at each college. The honor bands are directed by guest clinicians and culminate with a concert filled with challenging and entertaining music.
Honor bands will take place at the University of Alabama, UAB, Auburn University, Samford University and University of Montevallo.