Students advance to the All-State Band


(Photo creds to McKenna Giunta)

Nine band students  have advanced to the 6A All-State band making up only 1% of all student musicians across the state of Texas from the thousands who auditioned this year.

“I was beyond afraid, especially this year,” Cruz said. “Since we’re rezoned to different areas, I didn’t know what to expect, but it just motivated me to practice more.”

Making the All-State Band this year were: Madeline Figueroa – B flat Clarinet,Mercy Ogunlade – B flat Clarinet,Robert Graham – Bass Clarinet,John Cruz – Baritone Saxophone (second year all stater),David Williams – Trumpet,Kahlil Wyatt – Tenor Trombone,Jason Alanis – Tuba,Sharif Long – Tuba (second year all stater) and Elijah Waters – percussion. Two-time all stater John Cruz knows exactly what is takes to advance to this level. In John’s case, there is only one baritone saxophone spot in the 6A all-state band. So for him to make the cut would leave little to no room for flaws. 

“I made sure I practiced every day,” Cruz said. “At least 1 hour and 30 minutes to really feel like I did some good work.”

Junior clarinet player Mercy Ogunlade made the all state band for the first time this year, coming a long way from the start of her band career.

“It felt so good to make state.” Ogunlade said, “I feel like it was a huge accomplishment considering I was in the lowest band freshman year (concert). It wasn’t easy though, I spent hours and hours working for it, I’m honestly so blessed.”

Ogunlade admits  the competition was rough. But despite all odds, she was still determined to pull through.

“I wasn’t 100% sure I made all state because of the great people I heard.” Ogunlade said. “But at the same time, I knew I wasn’t the worse player in the room.”

As soon as the results came out, Cruz  said he was beyond thankful for having the opportunity to be in the all-state band again. This is his 2nd year receiving this huge opportunity.

“I was relieved,” Cruz said. “To know that your hard work and hours of practice paid off is a very rewarding feeling.”

The all-state players will head to the TMEA (Texas Music Educator’s Association) convention in February where they will perform an exhibition with all of the other all-staters from across Texas. Ogunlade is beyond excited for this chance to perform with the best of the best.

“I’ve been planning for the trip to San Antonio in February.” Ogunlade said, “I am beyond excited, I think I’ve already annoyed my family by talking about it so much. The thought of being surrounded by many musicians on the same level as me is such an honor, I’m really looking forward to it. I want to learn how they see music and learn something from that.”

Cruz said he’s glad that his accomplishment has left a great mark in the Duncanville Band. He knows this chance to perform with the top musicians in the state isn’t an opportunity that every student gets to take.

“It is an honor, if anything.” Cruz said,  “To be apart of the rich and successful history that Duncanville holds was a dream that I always had and I’m happy to have made my footprint on.”