All-State Band leaves lasting impact


Courtesy of Lee Ann Lefevre

The 5A All-State Symphonic Band performs in concert.

When I first embarked upon this strange journey we call high school, I did so with a singular goal in mind. Through much practice and repetition, I eventually found myself, one year later, walking out of an audition room having achieved my goal of becoming an All-State musician.

After my defeat at last year’s Area audition, I practiced with far greater diligence and a better understanding of how the competition I was participating in works. I once again placed first in Region 1, however, I had my eyes set on the coming challenges. I attended a clinic over the audition music in Dallas, which was helpful, and practiced more with my father, Don Lefevre, who is the director of bands and former saxophone professor at West Texas A&M University.

In the long run, I was much better prepared this year, which paid off in the incredibly tense and cut-throat Area audition room. An hour after my Area try-out, I learned the news that I had placed first and become an All-State Musician and would be traveling to San Antonio to play in the band of my dreams.

I traveled to San Antonio with my mother, grandmother and three friends a month later having learned an entirely new set of audition music. I walked into yet another audition for my chair placement in the band, once again not fully knowing what to expect. I assumed this audition would be more tense than any other I had participated in prior to making All-State, however to my great surprise everyone in the room was incredibly positive and encouraging. I placed fourth in the state, with which I was most pleased.

The next day I entered my first rehearsal with Dr. Don McKinney from the University of Boulder. McKinney ran a very energetic and strategically planned rehearsal by making the mood both fun and intense. McKinney was also very interactive with every student, making sure to converse with the band on multiple occasions. McKinney was also a saxophonist, which I admired. Although the band rehearsed a tiring nine hours a day, I enjoyed every minute of it with this fantastic conductor.

During my time at the TMEA convention, I had the pleasure of visiting hundreds of vendors that sold everything music related. I purchased a new ligature for my saxophone, which excited me to a level that I am not overly proud to admit (I was ecstatic!). While in San Antonio, I also enjoyed the local attractions with my family and friends which consisted mainly of the mall, the Riverwalk and many delicious meals.

After many hours of rehearsal, I eventually reached the conclusion of my TMEA experience, the concert. The hall where we performed by far the biggest I had ever dreamed of setting foot in. As I took my seat on the stage, I looked into the audience to see two balconies and a massive first floor packed as far as the eye could see. McKinney told the band he wanted performers in the room to walk away from the concert knowing it was the best performance of their lives, and in my case, he had his wish granted. Not only the concert, but the entire TMEA convention was one of the best experiences of my life.

I just hope I can make it back next year.