Student Features

Student Features

Where do I begin to describe the most memorable moments of the Rose Parade?! I have so many. Here are just a few:

I was on the bus with the color guard, and we were heading to the beach. On the way there, someone starting singing “Who Says” by Miley Cyrus. Then someone else joined in, and suddenly there was a big group of us color guard girls singing the song on the top of our lungs and dancing. It was a great song about how we are reminded that we are perfect the way we are, but even more special because we all sang it together.

On the parade route itself, we were over halfway done, and my feet were killing me. I was cold and tired and thirsty. I wanted to stop performing for a little bit just to get my energy up. This guy had a sign that said 3 miles left. Then a lady next to him had a sign that said “he’s lying.” We (the color guard) laughed at it. It lifted my spirits and made it easier to finish the parade! At the end of the parade, the drumline finished their last cadence, and we started dancing to finish it out. I couldn’t believe I actually finished marching an international parade!

I think one of the biggest things I still talk about today, other than performing You Raise Me Up at Bandfest, was the reception after the parade. I was super lucky to go on the trip with my best friend, Maija, she plays clarinet, and any moment I wasn’t with the color guard, I was with the clarinets. At the ceremony, the clarinets and I started dancing, and Maija and I started teaching them to dance cumbia. Someone started a conga line, and we danced around the whole floor. I know all our feet had ached from the parade, but we kept dancing anyway. I loved every moment.

At Bandfest, we performed You Raise Me Up, and I remember having the pre-show jitters. I was focused on making sure I remembered everything from rehearsal the days before. After, hearing the first chord and feeling chills up my spine, I wasn’t nervous anymore. I felt my smile grow bigger. I saw United Sound performing, and it was just so wholesome. I got to stand in the center of the field dancing and spinning with the color guard I just met but was already made great memories with, and it brought some tears to my eyes. There was pride in the music we were playing, and the crowd was reciprocating the emotions. It was a beautiful performance that I will never forget!

I had the trip of a lifetime! Thank you all for the memories!

To be honest, I could write an ENTIRE blog about my trip not just one post! I would write about how one random person I took a selfie with at Disneyland ended up going to college with me and we have been best friends and drum majors for 3 years.

I would write about all of the countless reunions I have had with members of the band since 2017; how the Rose Bowl Stadium ended up being my college home stadium; or how my best friend and I became such close friends with people we met in the band we ended up staying in Ohio for a few days with them after DCI Finals.

But, my most memorable moment is from the beginning.
It is funny, even though the week of BOA TOR 2017 was the most fun and enjoyable week of my life, the moment I will always cherish is when I got the email saying I was accepted into the 2017 Bands of America Honor Band in the Rose Parade early in 2016. I had spent four years waiting to audition, as the seniors from my freshman year of high school had participated in the 2013 Honor Band.

I spent lots of time asking about their experience in the band, and listening to them tell their stories and every single time I thought to myself "I am going to do that." To be quite honest, at that point in my life, it was the biggest thing I had ever been sure of.

I didn't know what I wanted to do after high school, I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I didn't even know what I wanted to have for breakfast the next day. But I knew that I wanted to be in the 2017 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Honor Band.

There were also 7 other students from my school's band program that auditioned, so that Friday morning, we were all nervous wrecks outside the band room, refreshing our emails over and over and being ready to celebrate or console our fellow members once the notification emails came out. I remember one of our trombone players got his announcement first, and we all tried to figure out what the algorithm was. Was there an order to the emails being sent out? Some pattern to this madness?

Then, the time came. I had received my email, and at that moment nothing was more important. I got in! The other 6 members received their emails as well, and that morning there were rounds and rounds of hugs, congrats, and sighs of relief. I even remember our band director being out there with us. And there, that memorable moment, was where this whole amazing journey started.

I ended up publishing a vlog with more memorable moments from my experience:

This is the forty-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!

SophiaM

Name: Sophia Motai

Hometown: Alpine, NJ

School Name: Tenafly 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 applied for this wonderful opportunity to achieve two goals. One is that I would like to challenge my potential as a fine violinist by playing with other good musicians from all over the country. The other is that I would like to become an independent and responsible young adult. This is a perfect opportunity for me to open myself up to a new environment and people. I believe it will be a precious experience for me to create and share music together in the ensemble.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. I’ve learned that you play best when you focus and get into the music.
2. I’ve also learned that the conductor is your friend, and that they will help cue you in so watch carefully.
3. Finally, I learned that orchestra is not about you; it’s about everyone as a whole performing as one.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
When Larry talked about his experience with music and life at the reception after the final concert, I was inspired and appreciated the whole experience at this national music festival.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am involved in the chamber group and occasionally perform for elderly people at nursing homes and senior centers. I also belong to the acapella club and sing in concerts at school and outside of school. In the spring, I play softball.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I highly recommend “1984” by George Orwell, which gave me deep insight into human beings and society.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No 8. in G Major

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Green Tea

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy reading and watching “TED Talks”. I also like to play pool and ping-pong with my family and friends.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Just keep trying and looking forward.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to study psychology at college and also study abroad to widen my views.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have been struggling with myself internally and find it difficult to build a good relationship with others, but this experience made me realize that I don’t have to fear starting new relationships and I can live my life with the purpose of finding true happiness.

SophiaM2SophiaM3

This is the forty-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!

MaddieH

Name: Madison Hansen

Hometown: Biloxi, MS

School Name: Biloxi 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?
I heard about the Honor Band of America a few years ago while browsing the web, but never imagined I could ever be accepted into the group. It wasn't until I was selected to perform with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band that I believed the goal was at all obtainable. I am very honored to be accepted into this prestigious ensemble and am looking forward to the experience.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Band has definitely taught me a lot about working with others for a common goal, time management, and how to set short-and long-term goals for myself.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
About a year ago I had the privilege to play under the baton of Frank Ticheli at a local honor band. At our first rehearsal, we read through his piece "Rest." It was truly amazing to see how passionate he was about his music and to see the emotion he put into his conducting. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments I've had in my music career.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
At school I am a very active member of the Key Club where I serve as club president. I also serve as the lieutenant governor of my division for Key Club. I am always busy with a service project, and I love doing things for my school and community.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I am a very big fan of the Harry Potter series and I highly recommend it to anyone.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
As a musician this is a tough question! Some of my favorite pieces include Elgar's Cello Concerto and Dvorak's Ninth Symphony.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
When I'm not rehearsing or performing, I love to spend time with my friends and family.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
I would advise a friend who needs inspiration or motivation to change their perspective on life and look for the good things that have brought them to this point in their life and to be thankful.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After graduating high school I will attend the University of Southern Mississippi to major in music performance with pre-medical requirements. I one day hope to be an OBGYN and play actively in many local ensembles.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I am the first person ever from my school to attend the Honor Band of America.

This is the forty-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!

AnnaD

Name: Anna Dorey

Hometown: New Port Richey, FL

School Name: J.W. Mitchell H.S.

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?
I heard about it from my friend who did the Jazz Band of America and I thought it would be really fun to try.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Always be at least 20 minutes early to a rehearsal, class, or literally anything.
2. Music can inspire anyone, even those who don't normally listen to it.
3. If you love music, keep it in your life.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in band was when my band went to a competition in Atlanta. We didn't really know what to expect and we just put a giant concert band together, but when we played the cut off of our march it echoed in the hall for a really long time and everyone just stopped to listen.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I'm in National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, and Varsity Tennis Team.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I would highly recommend The Art of Possibility by Ben Zander. Our clinician for this event, Jeffery Grogan, suggested it when he conducted our All-State Orchestra and I loved it.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece hands down is the Finale to Mahler 1

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Moon Mist

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I love going to see musicals with my younger sister.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Even at your worst moments you can find a light at the end of the tunnel, like I found with French Horn, while trying to get away from bullies.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on majoring in Music Performance and Biology because I'm either going to be a doctor or play in a major symphony.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No, but I'm really excited to!

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
My entire family is from Canada, so I'm the first American in my entire family.

This is the forty-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!

TylerD

Name: Tyler Demsheck

Hometown: Mount Pleasant, SC

School Name: Wando 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?
I wanted to be musically challenged and have the opportunity to perform with some of the best musicians in the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Importance of practicing and repetition.
2. Putting in time reaps rewards.
3. The significance of working hard with others who share the same goal.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
10th grade All-State experience

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Station Eleven

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Benediction

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

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

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
If you do everything in your power to get the outcome that you want, then you can be a peace knowing that you tried your best. The rest is outside of your control.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Something in the medical field

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Grand Nationals and Super Regionals with Wando Marching Band.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I can solve a Rubik's cube in 35 seconds.

TylerD2

This is the forty-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!

JulianS

Name: Julian Stiles

Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ

School Name: Pascack Valley High School

Instrument: Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
The conductor of Honor Orchestra of America also conducts another orchestra I'm in, New Jersey Youth Symphony. I thought it sounded like a fun program and auditioned. Our conductor also told me that we would play Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, which is a piece I've wanted to play very badly. I also really enjoy experiences in honors ensembles. As much as I enjoy my school band, playing in groups like this is always a great way to learn and a great way to have a lot of fun.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. There's no such thing as a "perfect musician".
2. Musicians can learn from all auditions and performances, whether they're good or bad.
3. Don't leave your mouthpiece at home on the day of a concert. And don't learn the hard way like I did.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Singing "Hey Baby" to my band director at every football game.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I sing with the school's Chamber Choir and the all-male acapella group The Bro-Squad. I play in the Pit Band for the Spring Musical each year. Also, I am the Event Manager for my school's Tri-M Music Honor Society.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Currently Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Richard Strauss.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I love skiing with my family and friends.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on going to college and majoring in music.

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

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I also play piano and will be competing for the first time this spring.

JulianS2

This is the forty-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!

SophieA

Name: Sophie Andrews

Hometown: Chatham, NJ

School Name: Chatham 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?
It would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to play in a national youth orchestra with musicians from all over the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. rhythm
2. Rhythm
3. RHYTHM

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Playing Shostakovich 5 at the Kennedy Center

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Tennis team and Academic team

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in E minor

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate!!

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy traveling and visiting new places.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
“Never, never, never give up.” -Winston Churchill

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Major in computer science

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No, I have not.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
Proud owner of Sophie's Math Corner (sophiescorner.jerseystem.net)

SophieA2SophieA3SophieA4

This is the forty-second 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!

KassiH

Name: Kassi Hatakenaka

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

School Name: Kalani 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?
Since our school band will be participating in the festival, our band director mentioned that we could audition for this prestigious ensemble. The Honor Band of America would give me an opportunity to play with other skilled musicians from around the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1) If you're willing to put in the effort, the results you get will be incredible.
2) Do not rely on others to always be there to play a difficult section of music. Always practice everything, so if something happens you'll be good to go.
3) Respect the people who helped you on your musical journey. In some way or another they helped to get you are where you are today.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment was being in the Oahu Band Directors Association Middle School Select Band for the first time in 7th grade. Even though it was a long time ago, I still remember what an eye-opening experience it was to hear others from different schools.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I did Judo last year, but learned that I should stick to music.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Aldridge Grainger.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
There may be something that's difficult for you to do, but if you're passionate about it and work hard, you can improve so much. When other people see that you care, you'll motivate them to do their best.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan to attend college and major in music education.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
My wrists are double jointed.

KassiH2

This is the forty-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!

HannahS

Name: Hannah Small

Hometown: Mason, OH

School Name: 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?
A friend of mine explained their HBOA 2016 experience and told me how much of an amazing time they had, and that I should audition too.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1) How to effectively work with a large group
2) Leadership skills
3) Time management

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Going to the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, sight-seeing and traveling with a group I enjoy being with, and performing in front of hundreds of directors and musicians.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
My high school's marching band program, Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble, and other art related classes.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Angels in the Architecture, by Frank Ticheli

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Coffee

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy pottery, ceramics, and sculpture.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Never stop doing your best just because you aren't getting credit because it will pay off in the end.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Hopefully to get into a good music school, study horn performance, and music education.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
My high school marching band went to BOA Regionals in Toledo, and came in 1st. We also attended BOA Grand Nationals, and came 3rd in the nation.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I drove across the country, and stopped at all of the weird roadside tourist spots, from Ohio to Oklahoma.

HannahS2 

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