Dare student musicians earn spots in All-District Band

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Nine talented student musicians from Dare County Schools each secured a place in the North Carolina Music Educators Association’s All-District Band for the Eastern District.

All-District Band is a highly competitive ensemble that brings together the most accomplished young musicians from schools across the region. These students undergo a rigorous audition process, showcasing their proficiency on their respective instruments.

Band students demonstrated their instrumental knowledge and skills by sight-reading, performing scales and delivering a prepared piece before a panel of judges during a competitive audition process held in January. The top scoring students on each instrument were placed in one of four bands: Middle School Concert Band, Middle School Symphonic Band, High School 9th and 10th Grade Band, or High School 11th and 12th Grade Band.

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“Participating in All-District auditions is a great way to work on fundamental skills, and the opportunity to perform these skills in an audition setting helps build confidence and musicianship,” stated First Flight Middle School band director Suzanne Blackstock. “Preparing pieces for performance with just a few days of rehearsal is a challenging, yet enriching experience for developing musicians.”

The following students showcased outstanding musical abilities and were selected to participate in a day-and-half long clinic in Greenville along with other standout student musicians in the region. Students worked with guest conductors and performed at a concert held at East Carolina University on Feb. 3, 2024.

Middle School Concert Band:

  • Reid Caton, Manteo Middle School, timpani
  • Eva Randolph, First Flight Middle School, oboe
  • Neomi Wheeler, Manteo Middle School, tuba
  • Ben Zadd, Manteo Middle School, clarinet

Middle School Symphonic Band:

  • Gretchen Altman, Cape Hatteras Secondary School, trumpet
  • Lucas Bailey, Manteo Middle School, trumpet
  • Danny Trice, First Flight Middle School, tenor saxophone

Senior High School 11th and 12th Grade Band:

  • Cameron Kenan, First Flight High School, trumpet
  • Heath Miller, First Flight High School, horn

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for both our incredibly talented student musicians and for our staff members who instruct and direct these students. Our arts programs bring so much to each of our schools and more often than not, high performing schools have high performing arts programs,” said Dare County Schools Superintendent Steve Basnight.

All-District Band is hosted by North Carolina Bandmasters Association. The Eastern District features schools located from Interstate 95 to the coast. The association’s mission is to advance the cause and development of school band programs in Eastern North Carolina, noted a Dare County Schools news release.