Local Students to Try-Out for All-State Bands

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Travis Slaughter
TD photo/Jane Gatewood

Two local students have qualified to try-out for All-State Bands, including a sophomore from Rector High School.

Travis Slaughter

This Saturday, Feb 3, at Arkansas State University, Travis Slaughter, son of Michael and Peggy Slaughter, will represent Rector Cougar Band in his quest for inclusion in All-State Concert Band. As a sophomore, Travis will be competing for an All-State chair against other high school students from across the state, in all size band programs. He says he is nervous, but confident because of fellow bandsmen, his parents, and students who say, “you’ve got this. No matter what, you’re a winner.”

Louis Lin
courtesy photo

According to RHS band director Daniel VanAalsburg, Travis has made All-Region Concert Band for the past two years on the tuba. This year, achieving first band-second chair, meant he placed second out of all competitors in grades seven through 12 which included 30 musicians from Region V.

VanAalsburg noted that Travis scored high enough in the region to be invited to the state rankings competition which includes students in grades 10 and 12. In simple terms, Travis will be competing against senior high students some of whom are bound for college with music scholarships. VanAalsburg also noted this is the first time Rector Cougar Band has qualified a sophomore into competition for All-State Band.

The contests are individual competitions where students come prepared with six judge-selected pieces and 26 scales to perform. The judges select portions of any of the six pieces for the student to play and select any three scales as part of the performance. In addition, students must sight-read a piece only the judges know will be used. In preparation, Travis has been practicing constantly, even listening to the selections on his music device between classes.

“I think I was lucky – the Region judges picked the easy parts”Travis said of the earlier competition.

“They are all easy with as much practice as he puts in” VanAalsburg offers.

At times, Travis may be seen running the scales or practicing the fingering on a piece on an “air” tuba, and he notes that he hopes the other students don't think he has become delusional.

Travis has been attending Rector Schools since kindergarten. He indicated that even before fifth grade, when he had the opportunity to join the band program, he had become fascinated with the music world and how all the instruments work together.

Other RHS band students to earn All-Region honors are Jacob Holmes, Emily Garron, Sarah Baker, Nick Wofford and Grayden Boyster. Slaughter earned the opportunity to compete for the All-State band spot by way of his points scored.

“I want to say thank you to everyone for the support, the cheering for us, helping keep our confidence up,” Slaughter added. “The parents, the students have been behind the band. Not just me, the whole band.”

Louis Lin

Two members of the Piggott High School Concert Band were named to the 2018 Region V All-Region Concert Band thanks to their performances at the auditions held recently. One of the PHS standouts was also named to the Region V Senior High Jazz Band, and will be auditioning for All-State for both bands later in February.

Louis Lin made First Band, Second Chair, in the 2018 Region V Senior High Jazz Band auditions on his trombone. Lin was also First Band, Third Chair trombone, in the 2018 Region V All-Region Concert Band as well. As a result, he was audition for the All-State Jazz Band on Friday, Feb. 9, and will tryout for the 2018 All-State Concert Band the following day, Saturday, Feb. 10. Both of the All-State auditions are being held on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Also named to the Region V All-Region Concert Band from PHS was Rebecca Edwards, as she made Second Band, 21st Chair, on the clarinet.

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