Nine Ector County ISD students are among the best music students in Texas this year, having earned the prestigious distinction of All-State Musician from the Texas Music Educators Association. Remarkably, one of the students is All-State for the fourth consecutive year and another for the third time.
“I don’t think I go too far to say we [in Texas] have one of the very best programs,” said Permian High School Choir Director Aaron Hawley. “So musicians in the State of Texas are among the best in the United States. It takes exceptional skill and performance ability to be All-State. It is incredibly hard.”
All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. This year more than 64,000 students from around the state began the selection and audition process last May – only the top 2.5% (about 1,700) are chosen to perform in one of 15 ensembles (bands, orchestras, and choirs).
The ECISD 9 are:
· Aaron Hunt, Odessa HS senior, Bass 2, First Chair All-State Mixed Choir for the second year in a row. He was named UIL Outstanding Soloist at State Solo & Ensemble last spring. Plans to attend the University of North Texas’ College of Music next year.
· Joshua Lujan, Odessa HS senior, Tenor 2, Second Chair All-State Mixed Choir for the second year in a row. He plans to major in music and become a teacher.
· Emilie Bell, Odessa HS junior, Alto 1, Fifth Chair All-State Treble Choir. Her immediate plans are to make All-State again next year. After high school she wants to attend Berklee or Julliard schools of music.
· Jamie Inman, Odessa HS senior, Philharmonic Double Bass, All-State Orchestra. Jamie is the first OHS student to make All-State Orchestra since 1984. He is a Bass 1 All-Region selection for two years and plans to attend West Texas A&M for a degree in music. He would like to play for the Chicago Symphony one day. In February Jamie will have the chance to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of the High School Honors Series.
· Melanie Eychaner, Permian HS senior, Percussion (Marimba), All-State Band. Melanie earned Outstanding Performance Award at the State Solo & Ensemble last spring. She is a member of the Honor Band at West Texas A&M, and hopes to perform in a major orchestra or become a studio musician.
· Ben Corman, Permian HS sophomore, Bass 2, Fifth Chair All-State Tenor-Bass Choir. Ben wants to become a music director one day. He wants to go to Odessa College and study with his father who is the director of choirs at OC.
· Grantham Wash, Permian HS senior, Tenor 2, Fifth Chair All-State Tenor-Bass Choir. Grantham is All-State Choir for the second year in a row. He also competed in the State Marching Contest with the PHS Band in December. After graduation he plans to take a year to do mission work in a foreign country.
· Isaac Torres, Permian HS senior, Tenor 2, Fourth Chair All-State Tenor-Bass Choir. Isaac is an All-State Choir selection for the third year straight year! He plans to become a choir teacher and share his love of music with others.
· Seneca Mick, Permian HS senior, Soprano 1, Second Chair All State Mixed Choir. Seneca is one of the rare students to earn All-State honors for all four years of high school! She was awarded Outstanding Performance at last spring’s State Solo & Ensemble Contest. She plans to go to the University of North Texas, and dreams of becoming a renowned opera singer. Seneca will get a chance to experience that first hand in February after being selected to attend an intensive workshop at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
“Anyone acquainted with the Texas All State process knows full well the depth and breadth of this accomplishment,” said Odessa High School Choir Director Michael Marcades.
The competitive process begins throughout the state in 33 TMEA regional auditions. Individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete in eight TMEA Area competitions. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group. These All-State students will participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally recognized conductors during the annual state TMEA Clinic/Convention from February 8-11 in San Antonio. They will close the convention with performances in front of thousands of attendees.
“My heart is full,” said ECISD Executive Director of Fine Arts Mark Lyon when the students were introduced at the school board meeting on January 17. “We have wonderful, talented students. Nine All-State students is phenomenal. Phenomenal.”