Band programs striving to reach pinnacle at All-State
By Glenn McGlothlin
High school students from around the state practice all year for an opportunity to perform every February in the Kentucky Music Educators Association All-State Band.
West Jessamine High School band director Sean Piatt works hard every day to give his students the best chance at reaching that goal.
This year, three students from WJHS were given the honor. Evelyn Madill, senior tenor saxophone player, Josiah Saunders, junior trombone player and Nate Stombaugh, junior trumpet player were all selected through two rounds of auditions held in November and December, Piatt said.
The experience of performing classical music with the best high schoolers at the Palace Theatre in Louisville is second to none.
“Something you cannot dream of. They learn so much by performing in these great groups and become better leaders out of it as well,” Piatt said.
Saunders said he is looking forward to learning from the best in his area.
“Taking part in an experience where you have the opportunity to play with the some of the best musicians of your age is one of the best ways to become a better musician.”
Madill, Saunders, Stombaugh and Piatt have all been playing instruments since the sixth grade.
Although Piatt, who graduated from WJHS in 2010, never experienced all-state band as a student, he has taught students who have made it.
“They always tell me they came out of it a new person,” Piatt said. “For me, it is a dream come true to take students of not only a program that I teach but a program that is my alma mater.”
For the students, the experience of all-state was worth the effort it took to get there.
“After over three years of hard work and dedication, making it into All-State is one of the most rewarding things that has happened to me in my life,” Madill said.
“It was really quite awesome to hear the news,” Stombaugh said. “I’ve been working really hard on trumpet this past year and that hard work is finally paying off. I love music, and I’m really excited to get to spend part of my week with the best high school musicians in the state.”
This is Piatt’s first year as band director at WJHS and he is already diligently teaching his students in preparation for next year’s all-state band auditions.
“I am always looking for better ways to do things in my line of work. I am a director built on never settling and always progressing,” Piatt said.