Upping The Tempo

Stalcup advances to state as band triples area competitors

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Upping The Tempo

Jacob Vaught

Jacob Vaught

Jacob Vaught

Judith Matehuala, Staff Writer

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For the first time since trumpeter Matt Herron in 2014, Celina has an all-state qualifier.

Sophomore trombonist Angela Stalcup advanced this past weekend in Argyle after placing first at the Association of Texas Small State Bands (ATSSB) area competition. Stalcup will experience the all-state process and participate in the state clinic and concert at the Texas Music Educators Convention (TMEC) in San Antonio on February 16th.

“I was really thrilled and surprised,” Stalcup said. “I was like ‘is that really my name? Did they make a mistake?’ I was pretty shocked because part of my audition wasn’t as great as I thought it should’ve been.”

The number of people who attempted to represent Celina at state nearly tripled last year’s area qualifier total. Only five band members advanced to area, compared to the 14 this year.

“I thought that if we could get eight to advance I would be thrilled,” head director of bands Benjamin Aune said. “I thought if we got 15 into the ensemble I would be thrilled. You get the results bit by bit, and I didn’t realize, until I started doing the math in my head, that we were going to shatter that mark.”

Of the 14 students who advanced to area, one did not actually make the all-region band. ATSSB regulations require a certain number of students, based on their instrument and division, (3A and 4A) to make a band and advance to area.

“I’m slightly disappointed I didn’t make region because it was my last year to try,” senior bass clarinetist Nathanael Mathews said. “But the disappointment is dampened by the victory of beating the system and making area, but not region.”

Twenty-two of the 32 students who auditioned at ATSSB all-region competition made a band, doubling last year.

“This is the highest honor because the students are competing directly with peers in their own classification,” Aune said. “It starts here at the regional level, goes to the area, and then to the state level. We call it the all-region audition, but it’s really the first step in the all-state process.”

Of the 22 students that made a band, two were a spot away from being able to advance to area auditions.

“There are a lot of students that don’t end up where they want to be, and that’s hard on me too because I know the amount of work they put in,” Aune said. “I feel excitement for some, disappointment for some, but overall I’m just pleased that they just went through the process, regardless if they finished first or last.”

After the all-region audition, advancing students went to work in order to perfect their pieces for the area level.

“I’ve met with so many people, [last Thursday] night I drove an hour and a half during rush hour to meet with a trombone guy,” junior trombonist Deepali Advani said. “I’ve met with my private lesson teacher, Mr. Aune, [Assistant director of bands] Mr. [Preston] Cummins, I’ve sent recordings to [Former director of bands] Mr. [Russ] Rutherford, and I’m ready and I want it, I want it bad.”

With the 35 out of 75 instrumentalists who auditioned for ATSSB, numbers are higher than ever, a trend Aune expects to continue.

“There’s some fantastic teaching going on locally,” Aune said. “I think we all leave, regardless of what happens, feeling very upbeat about the overall level of music education that’s happening in our area and region.”

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