The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog

Student Features

This is the thirtieth 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!

MadiC 

Name: Madi Childs

Hometown: Yorkville, IL

School Name: Yorkville 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?
My lesson teacher participated in it when he was in high school and it sounded like an awesome experience. My friend and I decided to both apply, and we are both excited to be there this March!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Making music is something like no other and is truly a special gift.
2. Sounding amazing does not come easily, you have to work extra hard and love it.
3. It is a serious commitment, but has been by far the most fun and rewarding thing I have ever done.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
The entirety of my time at the Illinois All State Music Conference. Playing in the All-State Honors Band was an amazing experience. Also, my band, the Yorkville High School Wind Ensemble, was selected to play at the State Conference.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I used to be in competitive dance and also theatre. I do not have time for those anymore due to my immense commitment to music. This includes marching band section leader, jazz band, clarinet choir, pit orchestra, and other chamber practices.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
"The Planets Suite" by Gustav Holst and George Gerwshin pieces such as "Rhapsody in Blue" and "An American in Paris".

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Anything with a lot of chocolate.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Hanging out with friends or family, and playing video games.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Wherever your passion lies, put your heart and soul into it. If you want to improve, you must have patience because it takes a lot of hard work.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After high school I plan on studying Clarinet Performance. I would like to play for orchestras and teach. Also, I will continue to compose music.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I love to compose and arrange music in my free time. I write music for just about any type or size of instrumental group you could think of.

MadiC2MadiC3MadiC4

This is the twenty-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!

CatherineS

Name: Catherine Sager

Hometown: Sebring, FL

School Name: Homeschool

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
At first I really didn't want to audition, but my sister talked me into it.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I learned that it is important to listen to the other players. I also learned how to mesh with the other players to become one big instrument. I've also learned to help others who are having trouble.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in orchestra was performing at the Grand Ole Opry with Josh Turner and the Annie Moses Band.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I enjoy literature and science.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
The Nancy Drew Series

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Czardas by Monti and Canon in D by Pachelbel

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy reading, coloring, fishing with my dad, and cooking with my mom.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE with God. The word "impossible" itself says, "I'm possible."

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After high school I would like to attend the Great Commission Bible Institute.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I'm a country girl at heart. I love fishing and four-wheeler riding in the mud.

This is the twenty-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!

 PhebeS

Name: Phebe Sager

Hometown: Sebring, FL

School Name: Homeschool

Instrument: Cello

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Some of my friends have participated before and told me wonderful things about the program.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
One thing that I have learned is that the key to making exquisite music is to listen to the other players in the ensemble. I've also learned how to work with people with all different kinds of personalities. Finally, I have learned that each conductor has their own style of conducting.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in orchestra was backing Josh Turner at the Grand Ole Opry with the Fine Arts Summer Academy.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I enjoy reading, crafting, photography, and writing.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I would recommend the Kingdom Quest Series, the Viking Quest series, Pride and Prejudice, and the Zion Chronicles.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Crafting and Blogging

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to major in Music Performance and Music Education. I would also like to attend the Great Commission Bible Institute.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I am an excellent marksman.

This is the twenty-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!

JoshuaH

Name: Joshua Hernandez

Hometown: El Paso, TX

School Name: J.M. Hanks High School

Instrument: Bass Trombone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Jazz Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
The unique opportunity to play with the best jazz musicians in the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Being involved with band has not only taught me about music, but how to be a responsible young adult and care for others.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Getting to tour Japan with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I play baseball whenever I need a break from my instrument.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
"What we think, we become". If you have a dream infused with ambition and dedication, work hard and everything will fall into place.

 

This is the twenty-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!

EvanC 

Name: Evan Curatolo

Hometown: Frankfort, IL

School Name: Lincoln-Way East 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've always strived to be the best musician I could be, and high school band is very limiting in the sense that not everyone is at the same talent level. In the honor ensembles, everybody performs at an extremely high level and that is why I chose to apply for these ensembles.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Three things I've learned is that there are always people who are going to be more talented than you, so you just have to embrace that fact and try to be the best you can be. Another is that music is all about collaboration with other musicians. Being a part of a bigger unit helps you to become a more humble musician. Something else I've learned is that there is always more to learn, and that you will always have something to improve upon.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in band was when I walked onto the Lucas Oil Stadium field with my home marching band in the Bands of America Grand National Championships.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am not involved in any other activities in school besides music department activities.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
While I don't particularly read all the time, I would recommend any book about music, because music is something that anyone can relate to, whether you love to play or just listen to it.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece of music is Beethoven's 6th Symphony because it was used in my sophomore year marching band show and it is very special to me.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Birthday Cake

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Music has always been my favorite hobby/past time, so I don't necessarily have any others.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
There are always going to be hard obstacles and you will definitely not win everything you try, but if you give up, there is no chance of you ever getting better. Keep on trying, because all anyone ever asks of you is for you to try your best.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to major in Flute Performance at a music conservatory and either perform in a symphony orchestra or become a solo flute performer.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
I have participated in the Honor Band of America 2016, and I have also participated in Bands of America Super Regionals and Grand National Championships 2016.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have only been playing flute for three and a half years. I did not begin playing on an actual flute. Instead, I started on a PVC pipe with holes cut in it to simulate a flute. Soon after, I started playing on a real flute and I fell in love with playing instantly.

EvanC2EvanC3EvanC4

This is the twenty-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!

JasonF

Name: Jason Frazier

Hometown: Fairview, TN

School Name: Franklin High School

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I had multiple upperclassmen that attended Honor Band of America my freshman year, and the way they described this experience made me want to have it as well. Also, I watched a lot of videos of Honor Band of America and it was such an amazing ensemble, that I decided I couldn't not be in it at least once.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Everyone matters. Every single player in an ensemble is responsible for that group's performance.
2. Hard work pays off. I worked incredibly hard for this audition and it most definitely payed off.
3. It's okay and important to feel emotions. These are emotions that you can pour into a performance and make it that much more enjoyable.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Too many to count, but my top two are performing Give Us This Day by David Maslanka at the Tennessee Governor's School For The Arts and walking off of the field in Lucas Oil after Grand National Semifinals my freshman year. Those are my two favorite performances that I've ever given.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Playing saxophone and flute consume a large portion of my time, but other than that I'm in the IB program at my school, which consumes even more of my time. It's fine.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
All of the Harry Potter series. Also East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
This one's tough, but at the moment it's a multi-way tie between Shostakovich 5, Tchaikovsky 6, Shostakovich 10, Prélude Cadence et Finale by Alfred Desenclos, Medea's Dance of Vengeance, and Give Us This Day.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. Absolutely mouthwatering.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Mostly memes.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on attending undergrad at either IU or MTSU for Music Education, then I'll get my master's at either IU or UMich for Music Performance. After that I'll either go into teaching/performing/conducting or get my DMA.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
2014: BOA Louisville, BOA Indy Super Regional, Grand Nationals
2015: BOA Clarksville, BOA Indy Super Regional, Grand Nationals
2015: BOA Clarksville, BOA Atlanta Super Regional, Grand Nationals

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have perfect pitch.

JasonF2JasonF3JasonF4

This is the twenty-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!

JennaM 

Name: Jenna Montes

Hometown: Mason, OH

School Name: William Mason High School

Instrument: French Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I attended the National Festival with my high school band in 2014 and I loved the atmosphere of the event. Last year, I decided to go back and experience that firsthand by participating in Honor Band of America. Since participating last year, I've developed great friendships with some of the musicians and I may even be attending college with some of them. The Honor Band of America made me into a better player and person, and there's nothing like being at a Music For All event.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Band has taught me that if you don't believe in your own talent and ability, you will never be able to achieve your goals. It has also taught me that music is one of the most powerful gifts to receive and to give. Orchestra has made me appreciate the beauty that comes from the unity of many different people seeking the same goal: excellence and growth.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
The most memorable moment of my musical career so far was in July 2016. I traveled to Sydney, Australia with the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble for the International Music Festival and performed at the Sydney Opera House. I will never forget what it felt like to stand on stage after the concert, accepting the applause and reveling in how far I had come as a musician.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am involved in marching band, Student Government, and Spanish National Honor Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
"A Visit From the Goon Squad" by Jennifer Egan

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Hammersmith by Gustav Holst

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Black Raspberry Chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I am a staff member for the iBelieve Foundation, which is a leadership program for high school students in West Virginia and Ohio.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
There's always someone that is willing to get you out of a rough place; you're never alone. Just because today was a bad day, doesn't mean all days are bad.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I am planning on attending a university somewhere in the Midwest/Eastern region for French Horn Performance.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
National Festival 2014 and 2016, BOA Grand Nationals 2013-2016, ATL Super Regional 2014, and Ohio Regional BOA Competitions 2013-2016

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
When I was in Australia, I got to feed kangaroos!

JennaM2JennaM3

 

 This is the twenty-third 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!

 MikaylaS

Name: Mikayla Sweet

Hometown: Edmond, OK

School Name: Deer Creek High School

Instrument: Trumpet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
A few of my friends had mentioned it in passing, so I decided to check out the website to see what all the fuss was about. It mentioned that everyone who auditioned would receive comments from the judges. I sent in recordings of my first round all-state etudes, hoping I would receive critiques before my audition. I never expected that I would make the band!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I have learned that the best things come from hard work, patience is key, and teamwork leads to succeed.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
The first time I ever took an improv solo, my freshman year in jazz band, was probably the scariest and most memorable moment in band. I didn't really have a good idea of what I was going to play, but as soon as it was my turn and I started, the notes just came out and fit the chords. It was the coolest feeling ever and the first time that I was able to successfully play by ear.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Most of my after school activities involve music in one way or another. Whether I'm giving lessons, in a rehearsal, or taking lessons, I almost always have a trumpet in my hand. However, I am also involved in my school's National Honors Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is definitely one of my favorites.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
I listen to so much music, my favorites are always changing, but I am a big fan of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and anything by The Beatles.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy petting dogs, spending time with friends, and going to Raising Cane's.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on getting a Bachelor's degree in both Music Performance and Education. Then I will continue my schooling and get a Doctorate in Trumpet Performance. After college, I want to play in different ensembles across the country and eventually settle back down in Oklahoma as a trumpet professor.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Nope! This is my first event with Music for All!

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
My family and I lived overseas in Bangkok, Thailand for three years when I was younger.

MikaylaS2MikaylaS3MikaylaS4

This is the twenty-first 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!

SamB

Name: Sam Butler

Hometown: Fairhope, AL

School Name: Fairhope High School

Instrument: Trumpet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Jazz Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
A couple of years ago, I had somehow stumbled across the clip of the Jazz Band of America from 2014 playing "Breakfast at Denny's." I was so impressed by the quality of the musicians, that it never crossed my mind that I could make it some day. Earlier this past fall, I somehow discovered the video again after not thinking about it for a while and was inspired to audition. It worked out, thankfully!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I've learned that trust is key, not only trusting other people, but being trustworthy yourself. I've learned that music doesn't judge, and people from all backgrounds have an equal chance of making a statement. I've also learned that music can be so many things to many different people. It can be happy, sad, reflective, progressive, and it always changes based on the person listening.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My first marching band rehearsal my freshman year was my most memorable moment from band, ever. Our first movement contained "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables" and that was when I first saw how emotion could be conveyed through music. Just the loudness of the music and the big chords that gave me so many goosebumps was an amazing experience. I had never heard sounds like those before.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
For many years, I was on the high school golf team, and we were a very successful program. I made many friends that I will always be close to, and it was a wonderful experience.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I would definitely recommend "Moving to Higher Ground" by Wynton Marsalis. It's a wonderful piece that really taught me about jazz music and what influences it, and also the influence that it has on other forms of culture, in art, other genres of music, and dance.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece of music is entitled "In a Day." It was written by the bassist in my high school band. It is kind of an avant-garde jazz piece, but it is very beautiful. I have never enjoyed performing a piece more than I have that song.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
My favorite hobby is playing golf. I used to play competitively, and I have won 18 junior tournaments. I always get out whenever I can and it is a good way to relax on the weekends with my friends and family.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
I would say never live a life where you aren't doing what you want to do.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I want to major in either Jazz Studies or Music Education in college.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
This is my first time participating in an MFA/BOA event.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have a vision condition called Stargardt's Disease that affects the retina in both of my eyes. It causes a loss in central vision,A so I rely heavily on my peripheral vision. However, I don't let that be a setback. I always try to stay positive and be an inspiration for others. I get my music enlarged to 11x17 paper and I sit at the front of my classes, so thankfully I get to be a normal teenager. I hope that people who are dealing with the same problems as I am can be motivated to not let anything stop them!

This is the twentieth 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!

JosephN

Name: Joseph Navarra

Hometown: Centerville, OH

School Name: Centerville High School

Instrument: Percussion

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in my band program was playing "The Engulfed Cathedral" by Claude Debussy at a large-group contest. I was a sophomore, and it was my first year in our school's Wind Symphony, and I have not since felt more connected or moved by a single piece of music. I cite this this piece as the reason I want to major in music, and I am overjoyed at the opportunity to play it again with the Honor Band of America.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite song is "An Gé Fhiáin" by Ryan George. The title translates to "The Wild Goose," portrayed by the English Horn and Oboe. This song is my favorite partly because of the broad range of styles and themes, but mostly because of a small percussion part in the middle. Around a third of the way through the piece, there is a shift to a light, moving melody in the strings and woodwinds, colored by the brass. The orchestra runs down the scale, and a bass drum plays at the bottom of the run, followed by a wood block on the upbeat. This "boom click" is such an interesting tamber that I love it every time I listen to the piece. I have told everyone I know about this tiny section of the music, but the piece in it's entirety is still phenomenal.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I am in the process of auditioning for six music schools around the midwest, and I hope to major in Percussion Performance after high school. I hope to play in a professional orchestra someday.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
This is my first individual MFA/BOA event, but I have been attending BOA events (including Grand Nationals) for the past three years.

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