Students selected for GCBDA Honor Band Clinic and William Carey Honor Band

Two groups of musically talented students at St. Patrick Catholic High School have been recognized for their hard work and skill. Tyler Jackson, Zach Wagner, and Tony Zbysinski have been selected for the GCBDA Honor Band Clinic while Raven Gonsoulin, Tyler Jackson, Will McMackin, and Richard Springer were selected for the William Carey University Honor Band.  These are both prestigious selections that take hours of hard work and preparation.

The GCBDA Honor Band Clinic is an honor band on the Mississippi Gulf Coast which includes two bands for high school students and two bands for middle school students.  The students selected for this band went through an audition process that was held at Ocean Springs High School.  An estimate of about a thousand students participate.

The students were given a piece in December to prepare for the audition, just one of the musical projects they showcase during judging. Zbysinski says, “To be selected a person has to be very dedicated. I just tried my best to practice every day, even when I only got maybe ten to fifteen minutes of practice in.”  Each student must play all twelve of the scales, the chromatic scale, a prepared piece, and a sight-read piece.  This tests their abilities in multiple different are so the judges can rate the students based on their skill and precision to determine if their skill matches the criteria of the honor band.  All the bands that were assembled perform on the clinic day, January 28.  All of the students selected are very excited.  Wagner commented, “I’m really excited! Mr. Lee told me that even if I made it or not, I still leave a better player than I was going in so I think it really boosts my confidence as a player.”

The William Carey University Honor Band that is held in Hattiesburg, Mississippi is also a unique experience that St. Patrick students were selected for. Students from all over the southern region applied for this weekend long event.  The students will audition for chair placement, meet a new director, and learn an entire concert in a span of about two days. This program is extremely rigorous, one of the days including eight hours of rehearsal time.  Students must be very dedicated to succeed within this special event. Between these intense rehearsals, attendees will also hear college musical group perform as inspiration to their work.  Jackson said, “This will be a fun and valuable experience that will allow us to advance as musicians individually and improve the St. Patrick band as a whole.”

These talented students will continue to use their musical talent and share it with the rest of Mississippi through these unique and inspirational programs.

Story by  Skye Ward