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This combo of Cleburne High School musicians has been named to the Texas Music Educators Association All-Region jazz band. From left are Blake Wilson, Allison Febinger and area qualifier Mason Hill. 

A “combo” of Cleburne High School musicians have received Texas Music Educator Association All-Region Jazz Band honors following auditions involving students across Region 30.

Pianist Allison Febinger, Blake Wilson on alto sax and trumpeter Mason Hill were selected for the All-Region Jazz honor. Hill has also been named an area qualifier and will continue on in the audition process. This is the second year for Hill to achieve All-Region in jazz performance and the third for Wilson. 

Febinger added the jazz band to her music activities this year in an effort to devote more time to the piano, which she began playing in the second grade. She is a member of the flute section in the Golden Pride Band and will be playing piccolo during concert season.

“I had always heard about the jazz band and the great experiences and opportunities that can come with that,” Febinger said. “I hadn’t been practicing piano as much as I should, and I play classical music. I thought this would be something different, I would play piano more and I would learn a different style of music. It’s been fun.”

Her decision to try out for jazz band — and the All-Region Jazz Ban — is a reflection of her ambition as a CHS student. In addition to the time required for marching band practice, she is taking four Advanced Placement classes and is an editor for the BUZZ News.

“The last time I went through an All-Region audition was in seventh grade with my flute,” she said. “I felt I should do this one more time before I graduate. Making All-Region has given me a sense of accomplishment. It didn’t dawn on me until after the fact, but this will also look good on my high school resume.”

She plans to attend the University of North Texas and is considering music education as a major.

Wilson may have set a school record, in making the All-Region Jazz Band three consecutive years. He is a featured soloist in the Pride’s UIL marching program, “In Bloom,” and has also achieved All-Region Band honors during his four years of high school performance. 

“I wanted to audition for the All-Region Jazz Band again this year, but it was lots tougher this time,” he said. “Everyone competing knew what they were doing. It was a serious group and all seniors. I guess we have all increased in our skills at the same level. I’ve kept my same chair in the alto sax section every year. I’m consistent—I can definitely say that about myself.”

Playing music is something Wilson enjoys. Being a member of the Golden Pride is his “niche” as a member of the CHS student body.

“I like band, my friends are in band—it’s something I like to do,” he said. “I worked on my audition for weeks and it was all worth it to play with and against the top musicians in our region. To be surrounded by people that care about jazz as much as you do makes it ten times more exciting.”

Wilson plans to continue with music following graduation. Music education will be his major with his college destination either Texas A&M University-Commerce or The University of Texas. 

Hill will learn in November if his latest audition will earn him area jazz band honors, or if he will be chosen for the All-State Band. He believes his experience in 2018, coupled with a year of growth in his music, were major factors in landing him a top spot in the All-Region jazz trumpet section, going up against some talented and highly competitive horn players.

“Doing this a second year helped a lot,” he said. “I think my sound is more mature and I was more focused this time. I was very pleased to see my name in the third chair position when they posted the audition results. There were lots of super serious musicians competing. I was very happy when I left that day.

“I’ll find out in mid-November if I will be advancing to the All-State level. I am competing against 15 in the Area round and they only take ten trumpets for the All-State Jazz Band. Those are some tough odds, but I’m hoping.”

He is also planning for a career in music education, with plans to study at UNT or Texas A&M-Commerce. 

“I am very proud of these students,” CHS Band Director Jason Jones said. Jones also serves as conductor of the Jazz Band. “It takes a lot of hard work and commitment, on top of all they do during the marching season, to prepare for the All-Region audition. This is totally their choice to participate in that process and it reflects their dedication and a willingness to reach further in their music abilities. They are definitely an inspiration to their fellow band members.”

 

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