By Abbey Snow


 The Clark County School District Honor Band auditions were held recentlly, including nine students from Virgin Valley High School competing, with two of them passing and being accepted into the ensembles.

Tristen Roman on clarinet and Neecie Thompson on tenor sax both passed the stiff judging to make it into one of the three honor band ensembles.

“These auditions are very rigorous, ” Band Director Kendra Graf said. “It not only takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to prepare for them, but it also takes a lot of guts to go compete in front of these judges, many of whom are college professors and professional musicians in the Las Vegas area.”

When asked, both Roman and Thompson said the auditioning experience was nerve wracking.

“During the audition I was scared that I wouldn’t play like I usually would play while I was practicing,” Roman said.

They both also said they were exited and surprised to have made it into the CCSD Honor Band.

“I was really hoping that I would make it,” Thompson said. ” I knew it was going to be really hard because the Vegas schools are really big, and especially with the LVA kids; they are tough to go against. I was really happy for me to get in because I know it is hard to get someone from Virgin Valley to represent our school.”

Graf said VVHS usually has one or two students make it into one of the three CCSD Honor Bands each year.

Each year, schools throughout CCSD give students in various music programs a chance to become a part of the CCSD Honor ensembles. According to the CCSD Website, its Secondary Music Education Program has an enrollment of more than 45,000 students. Programs offered districtwide are: three high school honor orchestras, two high school honor choirs, three high school honor bands and two high school honor jazz ensembles. Also, the opportunity to participate in the Las Vegas Youth Orchestra Program is available to students.

Schools eligible to compete in CCSD Honor Band include all schools that are part of the district, no matter the size or academic opportunities the schools offer. The Las Vegas Academy of Arts (LVA) had the largest number of students pass the auditions to participate in the honor bands. LVA is a nationally recognized, award-winning magnet high school in Clark County, according to their website.

The audition the VVHS students attended was for the All-County auditions, which is the round held before the All-State auditions, Graf said.

“Typically, 800-900 students from all around Clark County audition for this honor band, and about 20 percent of them are accepted into the ensembles,” Graf said. “Students who are accepted into and participate in the county honor bands (which are held statewide) are eligible to audition for All-State at the end of January.  Both of our students are planning to audition for the All-State ensemble.”

Graf said most of the students who auditioned will now begin preparing solos and duets to compete at the CCSD solo and ensemble festival in February.  They will have to pass a county level, regional level, and then all-state level to earn a spot in what they call the Command Performance.  Performers who make the Command Performance also perform at the all-state conference weekend along with the all-state band, choir, orchestra, and jazz band.

“I’m so impressed with the kids who auditioned, especially those who were auditioning for the first time,” Graf said.