BY MICHAEL WALTON
TRAVERSE CITY — Local high school band and orchestra members received All-State recognition after competing against thousands of student musicians.
Traverse City Area Public School students who won top honors will join other All-State winners for performances at the Michigan Music Conference. The musicians will have two days to practice together before the conference shows at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids on Jan. 19.
Putting together the shows with so little time poses a challenge, West high school band director Patricia Brumbaugh said.
"It's really hard but when you get kids this good it's amazing," she said. "They just have to gel as an ensemble."
Band and orchestra members competed for All-State chairs in October. Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association judges listened to a recording of each contestant playing scales, a prepared piece and a sight-read piece.
The association announced the winners Nov. 16.
Nikki Sanford, a junior at West who plays French horn, said she practiced almost two hours every day leading up to her recorded audition.
"The French horn music was incredibly difficult this year," she said.
Judges awarded Sanford an All-State honorable mention. She will travel to Grand Rapids as an alternate.
Senior percussionist Alex Wyant, a West student, won his third All-State spot. He said he is excited for the upcoming performance, as is junior flutist Catherine Conners.
"It's nice to work toward something as a group," Conners said while standing outside West's band room.
"And just to create the music," Sanford added.
Overall, 16 TCAPS students earned either All-State or All-State alternate honors.