Pauls Valley Democrat
A trio of Pauls Valley band students are continuing a real tradition here by joining an elite group of musicians across the state.
PVHS seniors Elissa Nobles, Ashlyn Puckett and Emily Watson first auditioned and then were selected for this year's Oklahoma Small School All-State Band in grades 10 through 12 from 1A to 3A schools in Oklahoma.
Their selections mean the three join the ranks of six former PV band students in the last eight years to achieve what their band director, Drew Etheredge, calls a great accomplishment.
“This is a great honor,” Etheredge said. “To reach this level of performance is an outstanding thing.
“It makes me really proud to be a part of that; to watch these kids grow from beginners to where they're at now,” he said.
“As a teacher it's very exciting to see kids grow and develop into good musicians.”
The honors came after students from three classes of high schools in the state gathered for auditions in late October in Tecumseh.
Etheredge stresses it took a lot of hard work and preparation for the students to be successf
ul at the auditions.
“The kids have music they've been preparing since last spring,” he said. “Only so many are selected on each instrument. These three ladies made it.
“It's definitely a big accomplishment because these are the best. Their selections are a product of their hard work during their time in school.”
All that hard work is important, especially since the audition process itself is also a difficult one.
According to Etheredge, it was a blind audition, which means students perform with judges concealed behind a screen while listening to the music.
“It takes a lot of work to prepare for this challenging music,” he said.
“The level of performance has to be pretty high just to play this music.”
Also during the audition each student gets 30 seconds to look at a piece of music, which they then perform for the judges.
Nobles, who plays clarinet, is the daughter of James and Jackie Nobles. Her plans next year are to attend Oklahoma City University and major in vocal music performance.
She also earned honors recently as a member of the PVHS choir.
On the flute is Puckett, the daughter of James and Kim Puckett. Next year she plans to attend East Central University and major in pre-dentistry.
Watson, the daughter of Mark and Lisa Watson, plays the French horn. She plans to attend Oklahoma City University next year and major in nursing.
This trio of PV band students will next come together with other all-state band members in February at Oklahoma City University, where they will rehearse and perform a concert conducted by Paul Popiel, director of bands at the University of Kansas.