High school band students are making Rutherford County proud with their performances in special ensembles.
Students from R-S Central and Chase high schools practiced their hearts out and auditioned for the 2013 western regional All-District Band earlier in the month.
"I am very proud of my students who participated. Most of the work, about 95 percent, is done outside of class getting ready for the auditions," said Deanna Putnam, band director at R-S Central.
After the auditions, nine Rutherford County high school students were chosen as members of the band.
R-S Central All District Band members were Muni Ng, Rachel McLaughlin, Katie Dixon, John Hutchins and Danny Mossburg. Chase members included Alex Larsen, Holden Gowan, Keynari Brown and Brett Farris.
These students traveled to Western Carolina University and spent two days rehearsing for a concert with over 300 other students from the area.
"They only take so many per instrument and if they make it they get to perform under nationally known clinicians and instructors," said Michael Henderson, Chase High band director.
The band presented its concert on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Bardo Center of the university. The students also had the opportunity to hear performances by the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet and the WCU Wind Ensemble.
"I practiced for about five months before auditions for All-District," said Gowan, who plays the baritone. "It was an amazing experience. We got to experience different types of musical expression."
"Everyone around you was as good as you or better. It brings out the best in you," Larsen said.
Because of their placement during All-District auditions, Mossburg, Brown and Farris will go on to audition for All-State band on March 9.
Several R-S Central students also participated in the Limestone Honor Band Clinic from Jan. 31-Feb. 2. Members included Heather McCrary, Colby Fagan, Ben Putnam and Brittany Putnam.
"The students that attend are band director recommended and they audition when they get there from the ones we picked," Deanna Putnam said. "They audition for chairs, rehearsed on Thursday and all day Friday and had a concert Saturday afternoon with the wind ensemble conductor at Limestone. Any opportunity they have to play will make them better with their music. Any opportunity that comes up, we try to encourage that."
Chase High band students attended the University of South Carolina Honor Band Clinic Feb. 14-17. Members included Macy Phillips, Elizabeth Phillips, Cierra Alley, Triston McKinney, Dillon Christen and Larsen. They are also nominated by the band director.
During the clinic, students worked with the band director from the university and other specialists.
"A specialist from each instrument taught you separately. We were able to grow in our musical abilities," Larsen said.
They also performed a concert on the last day.
"The ones that I nominate are usually the strongest players in the sections. I try to nominate the ones that have the possibility of majoring in music in college," Henderson said. "It is a chance for them to learn from their peers and nationally known conductors. They can get out and experience other musicians."