All-State All-Stars


Meleah York, Staff Writer

The band All-Region audition process is one of the most rigorous, stressful, and high-stakes events you can go through as a band member. There are multiple auditions and everyone has a common goal to be as successful as possible, preparing three different etudes starting in August. Five band students from our very own Keller High have achieved this maximum success, making the All-State band, a prestigious honor to be immensely proud of.

“I’ve made Area since my sophomore year,” says Kevin Kim, a senior bass clarinet player. “So finally being able to make State is like a dream come true.”

Owen Lusky, a bass trombonist and also a senior, comments on his excitement for the TMEA Convention in San Antonio this month, but owes it all to strict practicing routines.

“I had to practice a lot every day,” he says, “and make sure I sat down and really focused on difficult parts of my playing, drawing most attention to specific measures [of music] individually.”

Senior trumpet player Justin Bernardi elaborates on his own intense practice schedule.

“I come in an hour early every morning before school to get some work done with my lesson teacher,” he explains. “I usually get out of class after I finish my schoolwork to go practice, and I eat quickly at lunch in order to practice with Owen in the music theory room. It’s really about finding as much time as you can to practice and using that time efficiently. Making State lets you know that you’re on the right track,” Justin continues. “It gives you motivation to do a little bit more, and from making State last year as well, I really value that experience.”

But despite the perks, there is stress, especially during auditions, where one mistake or flub in your playing could cost you a spot.

“I have anxiety, so it’s hard to play in front of people when the stakes are so high,” remarks Kevin. “I had to really work on staying calm and collected when I played.”

Aileen Cho, a sophomore flutist, recalls her own nervousness.

“Before you audition is always the most stressful,” she says. “It’s those auditions leading up to yours where you hear others play and get really nervous because of how good they sound, but it’s all about continuing to breathe and staying calm.”

“Auditions are definitely the most stressful because then, it’s go time,” says Owen. “You have to be at your very best for those. It’s also really stressful when Mr. McGahey has us play parts of our etudes for the rest of the class, so when I practice individually I try to focus on staying relaxed.”

The All-Staters are all looking forward to the TMEA Convention and Clinic with some of the best high school musicians in Texas. But junior oboe player, Gwen Goble, has something else to look forward to: All-State Orchestra.

“Auditions take place on the first day of the clinic, and if you make a high enough chair you get to choose which ensemble you’re in, either band or orchestra,” she explains. “If I place high enough to where I can pick, I’d probably have to choose orchestra.” Gwen goes on to describe her experience as a first-time All-Stater. “Personally for me, it’s kind of like validation for all the hard work that I’ve put into it, because I’ve been working really hard on the oboe since I started. I spend a lot of time practicing so it’s really nice to see the outcome of that.”

All of these incredibly talented musicians have worked exceptionally hard on their respective instruments, so give them a high five if you pass them in the hall. Congratulations to these five brilliant individuals for showing us that the harder you work, the greater your achievements.