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Band and Choir students advance to All-State

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Those making All-State include: Junior, Matthew Merritt (choir), Junior, Aadon Benson (choir), Senior, Mercy Ogunlade (band), Junior, Kyle Hines (band), Sophomore, Jose Moreno (band) and Senior Patrick Sanford (band)

Those making All-State include: Junior, Matthew Merritt (choir), Junior, Aadon Benson (choir), Senior, Mercy Ogunlade (band), Junior, Kyle Hines (band), Sophomore, Jose Moreno (band) and Senior Patrick Sanford (band)

Those making All-State include: Junior, Matthew Merritt (choir), Junior, Aadon Benson (choir), Senior, Mercy Ogunlade (band), Junior, Kyle Hines (band), Sophomore, Jose Moreno (band) and Senior Patrick Sanford (band)

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When the  Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) held All-State auditions for choir, band, and orchestra across the state over 30 students from Duncanville advanced to the Area levels and were among those auditioning. At the end of the day four band students and two choir students were selected to join over 1,500 other musicians and singers from across the state later in February for the All-State choirs and bands in San Antonio.

Those who will be representing Duncanville are  Junior, Matthew Merritt (choir), Junior, Aadon Benson (choir), Senior, Mercy Ogunlade (band), Junior, Kyle Hines (band), Sophomore, Jose Moreno (band) and Senior Patrick Sanford (band)

“In order to advance for band, you have to prepare three Etudes. These Etudes came out in July and ever since that’s the only thing I’ve devoted my practicing to,” sophomore Jose Moreno said. “It’s really easy to quit and get discouraged but you always have to focus on the big picture and keep the big goal in mind which for me was to advance to All-state.”

The entire process of making it to the audition starts in the summer when students receive pieces of music to practice, perfect, and perform at a blind audition at Region. The top students in their region then advance to Pre-Area or Area and from there they can make an All-State ensemble. Six students from Duncanville made All-State groups including both band and choir:

“In order to advance for band, you have to prepare three Etudes. These Etudes came out in July and ever since that’s the only thing I’ve devoted my practicing to,” sophomore Jose Moreno said. “It’s really easy to quit and get discouraged but you always have to focus on the big picture and keep the big goal in mind which for me was to advance to All-state.”

At the clinics, all the All-State students will have to audition a final time with new pieces, but this time it will just be to place them in a specific orchestra, band, or choir. The title of All-Stater that they’ve already earned is a lifelong recognition and shows that they stand out in what they do.

“Advancing to State means a lot as far as doing music in the future. It’s a very prestigious honor because I can get into many music programs for college with this award under my belt,” junior Matthew Merritt said. “I also think All-Staters are like a family because many people try out but few can say they’ve made it.”

Because of the difficulty, the number of All-Staters from Duncanville varies every year. This year, many of our students were extremely close to advancing, several being only one spot away. For senior, Mercy Ogunlade, it will be her second year in a row as an All-State student.

“For me, practicing consists of literally hours of playing small pieces of the music over and over just to get my fingers used to the music,” Ogunlade said. “But practicing the music isn’t the only thing that’s important. Practicing how to audition is very important too. What I did was prepare myself to still be successful on my bad days.”

It takes not only practice, but a passion and knowledge of music to make it as far as these students did.

“When I start singing I feel like I can’t stop. It’s just a relaxing place for me and especially when they can’t see me, there’s no pressure,” Merritt said.

The six students will not only participate in the State groups, but also in the Region bands or choirs that they made when they first auditioned.

“The key to learning music is to know that there is always something more to do or something someone else is doing that you aren’t doing that isn’t wrong, just different,” junior Aadon Benson said. “The 6 months I’ve relentlessly worked on music has payed off. I consider it an honor to work with the best in this state.”

Congratulations are in order for all the students who took part in this process for all the hard work they put in. Over 95,000 students auditioned at Region levels statewide in the competitive system, and less than 15% qualified for the final round.

“This process is a huge deal to me,” Moreno said. “Advancing to state is more than what I ever imagined I would accomplish in my musical journey and I look forward to what else there is to discover.”

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About the Writer
Gloria Ogunlade, Editor in Chief/Writer/Anchor

I am a Senior and have been a part of the Panther Productions program for three years. In Student Media I have worked as a writer, photographer, and competed in the Skills USA AV chapter. At DHS I am also involved in Student Council, Youth and Government, NHS, and Interact club. I am very excited for my senior year and my last year in DHS Student Media as Editor-in-Chief!

 

 

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