The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
 

This is the thirteenth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

JordanD3

Name: Jordan Dreyer

Hometown: West Milford, NJ

School Name: West Milford Township High School

Instrument: Bassoon

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I am always trying to find outside ensembles to get involved with, but living in my area makes it difficult. I also love playing and meeting other musicians, and I wanted to challenge myself to strive for something that I thought was out of my reach.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I have learned how to work well with others, come out of my comfort zone, and you only get out what you put into something.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Besides my Wind Ensemble, I am involved with Marching Band and Indoor Percussion, where I play Marimba.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
The House of The Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece of music is Borodin's Symphony No. 2. It is one of the first pieces I had played in a major orchestra, and it gave me more inspiration and motivation to keep working towards my musical ambitions. Particularly the third movement speaks to me the most because whenever I perform it or listen to it, it gives me an indescribable feeling of joy.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
My favorite non-music related hobby or past time is either photography or hiking.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After graduating high school, I want to get my undergraduate degree in Music Performance on Bassoon, and eventually get my masters degree in performance as well.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have a twin sister who plays clarinet, bass clarinet, bagpipes, and is the Pipe Major of the West Milford Highlander Pipes and Drums.

JordanDJordanD2

This is the eleventh installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

MacyM3

Name: Macy Miller

Hometown: Roca, NE

School Name: Norris High School

Instrument: Clarinet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Music does not simply make me feel alive. Music is alive. To me, music is like oxygen: a necessity. When offered the opportunity to share my passion, I jumped and ended up where I am today! I cannot wait to be surrounded by the country's top musicians!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Being in band has taught me the importance of understanding before acting, giving my best effort the first time around, and living with kindness.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
The summer before my junior year, my band went to Washington D.C. to play in the Independence Day Parade. Since my birthday is on July 2, we were in D.C. for my sixteenth birthday. The band ate in the Kennedy Center that evening. After eating, everyone went out onto the terrace where the group proceeded to surprise me by singing happy birthday to me. I was completely shocked, and felt a wave of appreciation. A birthday packed full of the people I love in my nation's capital is more than I could ever ask for.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Outside of band, I am actively involved in my school through speech, cheerleading, National Honor Society, choir, Spanish club, and Tri-M.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
The entire Harry Potter series is hands down a good fit for any reader.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
As a clarinetist, I have a slight obligation to adore Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. However, I could also listen to anything by Queen on loop!

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Cookies 'n Cream

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I love being around people. Nothing makes me happier than a day spend enjoying the company of others!

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
On a still growing planet of seven billion people, feeling insignificant is small. I know it is easy to think one person can do so little. Gandhi was one person though, and so was MLK. And I don't know about you, but J.K. Rowling definitely changed my life. I guess what I am trying to say is that the only thing that separates you from the greats of the world is the choices you make. The future doesn't start tomorrow; it starts today. Stop putting off your dreams. Because believe it or not, you can change the world.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After graduation, I will go to college where I will seek a degree in Music Education. Once I am certified, I will take to the field as a high school band director to begin molding the minds of young musicians.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
This past summer, I attended the Music for All Summer Symposium. It was a blast!

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
In spite of being primarily a clarinetist, I have played the alto saxophone in my high school school jazz band for the past four years.

MacyMMacyM2MacyM4

This is the tenth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

KatieR

Name: Katie Riley

Hometown: Avon, IN

School Name: Avon High School

Instrument: Flute

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I heard from a friend about how wonderful the Music for All Honor Band was. I had to choose between Indiana All-State Band or Music for All Honor Band, and when she told me about how great her experience was it was a no-brainer.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
One thing I have learned is time management. I am able to get things done more efficiently because I feel like I don't have enough time. If I had all the time in the world to complete something, I probably would not be as time-efficient. Another thing I learned is how to not get wrapped up in the competition. Too much we are focused on the outcomes of others, when we really should only be focusing on ourselves playing better than we did the day before. Lastly, I learned how to work with others. It is so awesome to think of making music as a collaborative experience, where we all can rely on each other to do our jobs.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Last year, my school band played John Mackey's Frozen Cathedral. I was very fortunate to play the bass flute solos for this piece. But something I will never forget is the feeling when we got done playing. We played the last powerful note and our conductor let it ring for at least 30 seconds. No one made a peep. You could hear the sound of band members, as well as the audience sobbing at how powerful this performance was. I will never forget this moment where it seemed time stood still.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am also in my school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes club and National Honor Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A book I recommend is Love Does by Bob Goff. This book is a collection of true stories about Bob Goff's life. They are very interesting and really make you think about life in a different way.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Right now, my favorite piece would have to be the Dutilleux Sonatine for Flute & Piano. Every time I listen to this piece, I find something new to love about it.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
I would tell them to keep their eyes on the prize. This is kind of my catchphrase, as you can find it written a lot in my music. It's so easy to get caught up in one section that is not going quite right. But you really have to think about the big picture and what kind of message you are trying to convey to the listeners.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After I graduate, I plan to go to college for a Flute Performance degree. I am not sure where yet because I still have to audition.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes, I was in marching band my first three years of high school. I played piano in Avon Marching Black & Gold and we competed at BOA competitions. I was also in the Honor Band last year.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have a freckle in my eye.

KatieR2

This is the ninth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

AustinZ

Name: Austin Zhang

Hometown: Plano, TX

School Name: Plano West Senior High School

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Jazz Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
The opportunity to play with students from across America who are as passionate about music like I am makes this festival unique. The guest soloists and directors that the Jazz Band of America has every year are incredibly inspiring as well.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Appreciation for directors and peers
2. The ability to work with/deal with lots of different type of people
3. Time management/Keeping commitments

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Not really a specific moment, but I am currently the assistant director of the jazz band at the middle school I attended. Seeing them grow personally and musically has been so rewarding to me and has made me realize how far I've come in just the past few years.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Not much school-wise, but I play in several cover bands, big bands, and small jazz combos outside of school that occupies a lot of my time.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Lush Life - A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
Fascinating facts about the life of a hugely influential, yet largely under-appreciated composer.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Jacob Collier - In The Real Early Morning

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Community service/volunteering

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at 2 a.m. someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 p.m. someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again, will depend partly on how well you do your craft." - Karl Paulnack

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Attend a music conservatory (hopefully Manhattan School of Music *fingers crossed*) and pursue a degree in Jazz Studies.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Jazz Band of America (2016)

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I run a non-profit organization called Music Above All that provides free instruments, lessons, and concerts for disadvantaged kids in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

AustInZ2AustinZ3

This is the eighth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

MollyK

Name: Molly Kaplan

Hometown: Chuluota, FL

School Name: Hagerty High School

Instrument: French Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
A few of my friends participated in the Honor Band of America last year and highly suggested the festival. I love playing in orchestras and wanted another opportunity to play in a prestigious ensemble under the direction of Jeffrey Grogan.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Lots and lots of hard work is required when you are involved in an orchestra. Not only are you becoming a better player for yourself, but you also have to live up to the standards of everyone else in the orchestra.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in an orchestra is when I played in the 2017 Florida All-State Symphonic Orchestra. After two days of preparation, we performed the Finale of Mahler's 1st Symphony. At the end of the piece, the horns (all eight of us), stood up in unison and carried the melody to the end. I remember looking out into the audience and seeing all of the faces looking up at us. It was truly my favorite moment as a musician.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am a member of the National Honors Society and the Tri-M Music Honors society at my high school. I volunteer over 20 hours a semester for both groups combined.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Cutting For Stone

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Mahler 1

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Coffee

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Biking

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After high school, I would like to perform with a professional orchestra. I hope to attend a conservatory in the northeast region of the United States and continue my studies from there.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
Alongside playing French Horn, I am Drum Major at my high school. I also played soccer and swam for eight years.

MollyK2

This is the seventh installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

BenR

Name: Ben Rattanavong

Hometown: Cookeville, TN

School Name: Cookeville High School

Instrument: Trumpet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Well, I'm constantly looking for opportunities and I'm always striving for new challenges. I love performing great music and meeting people who share that passion. The Honor Orchestra of America really interested me for those reasons.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I've learned the importance of hard work and how it feels for hard work to pay off. I've learned plenty about teamwork and friendship. Band and Orchestra have also taught me to appreciate others more and the work they do.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
That's hard. There have been many memorable moments. I suppose one memory that sticks out most would probably be performing in the Tennessee Govenor's School For The Arts Wind Ensemble and Orchestra this past Summer. We played some amazing music, and I made life-long friends.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
This sounds bad, but playing and practicing trumpet is basically all my life involves; other than spending time with friends and family.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Life Of Pi

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
I have so many. So, a few pieces I really enjoy playing or listening to are:
-Arutunian Trumpet Concerto
-Enescu- Légend
-Mahler 5
-Maslanka- Give Us This Day
-Mussorgsky- Pictures At An Exhibition
-Shostakovich 5

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Coconut

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
If I'm not practicing or doing music related things, I'm always with friends, or just relaxing playing video games.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
You just have to learn to see past what is going on in the moment. If you're unhappy and in a rough situation, "congratulations, you're normal". You're not alone, and every human being who has ever lived has had to overcome hardships and failures. Always make sure you have close friends or family you can talk to and will give you support. Don't push away people during hard times, rather bring them close and almost always, things will get better with time.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on pursuing a four-year degree in Music Performance. I then hope to continue my studies and education in Grad School and possibly a Doctorate. I hope to someday be performing in a top tier orchestra or become a studio professor, teaching trumpet, at a university.

BenR2BenR3BenR4

This is the sixth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

 RyanL

Name: Ryan Larson

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

School Name: Avon High School

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I had seen the Honor Orchestra several times in years prior, and I was awed by the level of musicianship at which they performed. I really wanted to be a part of an ensemble that played music at such a high quality. Also, my sister was in it before and pressured me to apply.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is to be dead!

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
I don't have one moment that I can call my favorite above others, but I love the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment after an excellent performance.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
It's so hard to choose just one favorite piece of music, but some of my favorites are Jupiter from The Planets by Holst, Mambo from Symphonic Dances by Bernstein, and Hoe Down from Rodeo by Copland.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I really enjoy biking- both as a pastime and as a form of fitness.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
"Be the change you want to see in the world"; if things aren't going your way right now, just keep pushing forward and trying your hardest to do the right thing, and eventually things will get better!

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Go to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Then after one year there, I plan on going on a two-year mission for my church.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
2015 Honor Orchestra of America
2016 Honor Orchestra of America
2016 Music for All Summer Symposium

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In other words, I'm a Mormon.

RyanL2RyanL3

This is the sixteenth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

JasonD2

Name: Jason Donnelly

Hometown: Oviedo, FL

School Name: Paul J. Hagerty High School

Instrument: Euphonium

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
From last year's honor band, I knew that it would be a great time that I wanted to experience again. When I heard that Michael Colburn would be conducting (former President's Own conductor and euphonium player), I was even more excited to apply.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Anything is possible with enough practice and determination.
2. Improvement is a constant endeavor; if you feel like you've hit a brick wall, just keep going.
3. Art is subjective-pursue the things that interest you, not just the things that other people like.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Though it might now technically count as a "band" moment, playing Shostakovich's "Festive Overture" with a tuba-euphonium choir of over 75 at the International Euphonium-Tuba Festival was absolutely amazing. The sound of that many low brass players will be something I will remember for life.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I serve as the treasurer for the Tri-M Honors Society, and I am also a member of the National Honors Society and the French Honors Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It's a challenging and convoluted read, but certainly a worthwhile one.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
That's a tough one. I'd have to say Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" just because of how versatile and adaptable it is. I've heard over a dozen transcriptions that are all beautiful in their own way.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Vanilla-but it's all about the toppings!

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy screenwriting, even though I'm not very good at it.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
No matter how bad failure feels now, always know that there will be another chance, and another chance after that. The more times you fail, the sweeter your successes will be.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on attending college for a degree in Euphonium Performance.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes! I was a member of the 2016 Honor Band of America conducted by Richard Floyd.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
While I am here for my euphonium playing, I also play many other instruments in various ensembles, including tenor and bass trombone, and multiple saxophones.

JasonDJasonD3

This is the fifth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

SolomonA

Name: Solomon Alber

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

School Name: Amador Valley High School

Instrument: Tenor Saxophone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Jazz Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I had heard about the Jazz Band of America from some friends of mine and from the videos of some of the past ensemble performances I gathered. I noticed the level high level of musicianship and my goal was to be apart of the band.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I have learned that music, especially jazz music is a very involved activity that requires teamwork, yet also calls for individuality and uniqueness. Each member in the band needs to be solid and consistent when playing their part. Finally, musicians need to communicate with each other, whether it's between the drums and the bass in the rhythm section when keeping the time or the interaction between the soloist and the rhythm section.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in band was during a solo section where I was soloing and all of a sudden the bass started to play off of the melodies I was creating. This then led to a distinct conversation between the rhythm section and myself as the soloist, that was innovative and conducive to a unique form of creativity. At one point, I remember utilizing the snare drum rhythms that the drummer was implementing into his swing feel.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Besides band, I am involved in UNICEF events held at my school, computer science projects formed with other students, and volunteering for extracurricular events held at school.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A book I have read is called Ready Player One and I would recommend this book because it is full of suspense and does a superb job utilizing elements of 80s pop culture in a technological dystopian theme, in addition to this weaving in a creative storyline.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece of music is called "Danza del Altiplano" by Leo Brouwer because it has a virtuoso quality yet, it also possesses a culturally rich and blues influenced sound.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint chocolate chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
My favorite non-music related hobby or past time is spending time with friends exploring the world and discussing many interesting topics such as philosophy, science, and politics.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
One piece of advice I would give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation is instead of taking on something that does not interest you, find something you are interested in and pursue it to the best of your ability.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
My current plan for what I want to do after graduating high school is to continue studying music and progressing to the best of my ability. I also want to continue to gain knowledge to be a well rounded individual.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
I have not participated in MFA/BOA events before.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I am a bilingual. I understand both English and Russian. My family is mostly from places such as Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.

This is the fourth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

JTH

Name: J.T. Holdbrooks

Hometown: Alabaster, AL

School Name: Thompson High School

Instrument: Bassoon

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
To be apart of an ensemble other than just my band at home!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I've learned to manage my time, how to work with others, and how powerful music can be to others.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Playing at the Music for All National Festival with my Wind Ensemble two years ago!

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Cookie dough

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Going to the lake and kayaking.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Go to the University of Alabama and study Music Performance!

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes. I played with my Wind Ensemble at the Music for All National Festival in 2015.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I play the Alto Saxophone in Marching Band.

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