Twenty-seven Pittsburg High School music students auditioned for and were chosen for state-wide honors and will perform in All-State concerts planned for Saturday, Feb. 23, as part of the Kansas Music Educators Conference in Wichita.
Eleven PHS band students auditioned Saturday for the KMEA 5-6A Honor Band. Three students were chosen: Lauren Valenzuela (B-flat clarinet), Abigail Carter (bass clarinet) and Marissa Vail (horn). Brittney Bramblett (alto saxophone) was chosen as an alternate.
The work that each of these students put into their auditions was astounding, noted Cooper Neil, PHS band director.
"I want to publicly let all 11 students know not only how proud I am of them for their musicianship, but how exemplary they are as human beings," Neil said. "They celebrate each other's successes while caring for each other in their disappointments. To my students, please be pleased with yourselves. You deserve it."
Also performing in concert that day will be 10 PHS choir students chosen for the All-State Treble Chorus (Jasmyn Antoni, Sapphire Blakemore, Amanda Bourbina, Addy Campbell, Hannah Casper, Kylee Eidson, Mona Estes, Gracie Puckett, Rachel Ruiz, and McKenna Shaw), and six PHS choir students chosen for the All-State Mixed Chorus (Katelyn Abarca, Emma NooNoo, Julian Archuleta, Aidan Harries, Kyra Ketcham, and Ethan McConnell).
Those students are under the direction of PHS choir teacher Susan Laushman, and auditioned for the honor before Christmas break.
“I am proud of my vocal music students,” Laushman said. “They represent Pittsburg High School and Southeast Kansas with high caliber singing and musicianship.”
The choir concert will be at 11 a.m., while the band concert will be held at 3 p.m. Both concerts, along with other honor group concerts, will be performed in the Century II Convention Center. Admission is $7 per person.
Bring a gently used (or new!) band or orchestra instrument to the Oct. 19 Pittsburg High School football game in exchange for free admission to the game, and the great feeling that you’re helping a young musician in need. Volunteers will be on hand to collect the instruments.
These instruments will be used for the new Pittsburg Schools Instrument Library — a project that Band Director Cooper Neil has wanted to begin for two years. The program is modeled on a small scale after Meyer Music’s “Band of Angels.”
“Often the only barrier that prevents a student from becoming a musician is not being able to afford to purchase an instrument,” Neil said. “The idea is to collect used instruments that people just have lying around their homes that they, or their children, haven’t played in years. The instruments that are able to be repaired could then be restored to playable condition and made available to students in need in our district.”
Neil would like to eventually expand the program to Southeast Kansas, perhaps checking out instruments through Pittsburg State University.
But first, he’s testing the waters at Pittsburg Community Middle School, which has a wind ensemble and jazz band program serving sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students under the direction of Matt Reimer, and at Pittsburg High School, where he directs wind ensemble, jazz band, pit band, orchestra, marching band, and pep band for ninth through 12th grade students.
Volunteers also will be on hand to accept donations to further an instrument repair fund started by the generous donation of $3,463 by a recent Creating Legacies fundraiser called Legacy of Rock.
Questions? Want to contribute an instrument but can't make it to the game? Contact Cooper Neil at email@example.com or call PHS at 620-235-3200.
This year, Band Boosters is continuing a tradition that began last year with the addition of senior posters on the fence at Hutchinson Field. Inspired by the football team and cheerleaders, it features each senior member of the PHS Marching Band.
Photos were taken by Crista Cunningham, last year's Band Booster president and mom of Blake (Class of 2018) and Grace (Class of 2023).
At the Band Banquet held in the Spring, each senior will be given his or her poster as a keepsake.
We invite family members to show their band pride and purple pride by taking selfies or group shots by their favorite band member's poster at the Oct. 19 home game — Senior Recognition Night — and sharing them on the Friends of PHS Performing Arts Facebook page or tagging @PHSPerforms on Twitter or Instagram.