Eight students compete in TMEA All State Music contest

For many, being called “The Best in the State” will never be a title that they hold. However, for eight WHS students, the best in the state is not an elusive title. Sophomore Hannah Hopkins, junior Mina Lee, senior Duncan Waldrop, junior Connor Gunn, senior Joey Listrom, senior Holly Gibson, senior Mackenzie Carlson and junior Vishakha Mallya participated in the TMEA All State Music contest Feb 12-15 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. These students have worked tirelessly all year to perfect their arts and showed their talents for an audience in order to claim the title of “The Best.”

“It feels a bit surreal coming to this convention and I don’t think it has quite hit me yet, but I am so honored to be able to come to such an awesome organization,” E flat clarinet player junior Mina Lee said. “I had been working on my Region music since August and we actually got new music last month that we had to audition on again.”

This was Mina’s first year at TMEA, and it was an eye-opening experience, showing her some of the greatest clarinet players in the state. However, there are TMEA veterans in her mix that showed her the way.

“It’s my third year to participate in TMEA as an All State member and as always, it required a lot of practice and hard work,” trumpet player senior Duncan Waldrop said. “It has been three years of wonderful experiences and an honor to play with some of the most talented young musicians in the state of Texas.”

Band students were not solely representative of WHS at TMEA this year. Three choir students participated as well.

“I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience this,” All State Choir member senior Holly Gibson said. “I’ve worked really hard and it’s such a blessing to have been there.”

Though students are proud and thankful for the opportunity, directors also appreciate the greatness of the students.

“My greatest pleasure in teaching is seeing my students succeed in music no matter what level they perform,” band director Kerry Taylor said. “Of course, the All State students are performing at the highest level of high school musicians. I am very proud of their accomplishment and know that their commitment to excellence has been rewarded with a seat in one of the All State groups.”

Taylor also holds high hopes for the future of his All State students.

“In any group of All State students there will be future artists and music teachers,” Taylor said. “Almost all will continue to pursue their music at the collegiate level. I read somewhere that the odds of earning a position in a professional orchestra are higher than the odds of becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL. I know we have two quarterbacks and two professional orchestral musicians from Westlake. Perhaps one of this year’s All State students will be the third professional musician.”