Four Boerne Independent School District students have performed their way to the head of the class, so to speak, as far as Texas prep choirs and bands are concerned.
Boerne High School junior Addi Wells sang her way to the first soprano chair in the Class 4A allstate choir while BHS senior Priya Agarwall performed her way to the No. 1 French horn chair in the 4A all-state band.
Also, BHS senior Karla Guzman earned fourthchair status in bass clarinet.
In Class 5A, Champion High School senior Blake Moreland played his way to the top French horn chair.
“The Texas all-state audition process was established by the Texas Music Educators Association and is set up to promote students’ dedication to their musical knowledge and skills,” BISD Coordinator of Fine Arts Ken Peach said, adding that each fall more than 70,000 high school students across the state audition in their TMEA region.
Individual singers and musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each voice part or instrument. Then, a select group advances to compete against other performers from other regions in each of the areas around the state.
Next, the highest-ranking performers, which Peach said is about 2.5 percent of the original 70,000 students, qualify to perform in one of 15 Texas all-state choirs, bands or orchestras. The ensembles rehearse for three days, directed by nationally recognized conductors, and perform on the closing day of the annual TMEA clinic and convention in February.
“This is extremely rare that students from both high schools in a district would earn top seats in their classification in the state,” BHS Director of Bands Daniel Person said of Agarwall and Moreland.
Person also specifically talked about his two BHS all-state band performers, Agarwall and Guzman.
“Boerne High School band members continue to achieve at the region, area and state levels,” he said. “We are proud to have two senior students earn the honor of being named all-state musicians. Texas is recognized for having incredible band students statewide. If you are an all-state musician here in Texas, you put yourself among the best in the nation. It’s wonderful that these two hardworking students have had their hard work pay off. We’re so proud of them.”
Beyond making state, there is another audition that takes place at the all-state level wherein all-state students compete for a chair and spot in the most elite ensemble.
“Not only did Pirya Agarwal and Karla Guzman earn chairs in the most advanced all-state band, but Pirya also auditioned well enough to be recognized as the top horn player in the 4A classification in the state of Texas,” Person said.
Nancy West, BHS director of choirs, also bragged about Wells.
“Being chosen a member of a Texas all-state ensemble is the top honor a high school musician can achieve,” she said, adding that from the choir perspective, students start working on their music when school starts in August to prepare for the series of audition rounds.
West said nine BHS choir members earned all-region status, and six auditioned for the all-state choir.
“Students not only sing selections from the assigned music, but must sing a piece they have not seen before with limited study time,” she said. “Out of the state process, we had two first alternates and Addy Wells was selected as first chair soprano. Addy not only sang beautifully, but was the top sight reader of the day.”
West said Wells has been a member of the BHS choir program since her freshman year and performs with both the Chorale and Chamber Singers.
“I have long admired her willingness to put in the hard work and dedication to achieving this level of success,” West said. “It was such a joy to witness the all-state rehearsals and listen to such dedication pay off.”
Champion Director of Bands Kevin Arnott had great things to say about his top performer.
“Blake Moreland is an extremely talented musician,” he said. “To earn a position in any of the Texas all-state organizations is extremely hard to do and a great honor. But to earn first chair in the state is icing on the cake.
“Our area encompasses most of San Antonio, the Hill Country and Austin. He had to compete not only with the musical powerhouses from our own region but also from Austin, Dripping Springs and Leander. From that area audition, they only take one French horn player to state. Blake had to earn first chair at area to qualify. He did that successfully, and then put the icing on the cake by earning first chair horn in the state.
“I am exceedingly proud of his accomplishment. It takes an enormous amount of self-dedication and work to achieve at this level.”