Bright Future: Vidalia Jr. High students selected for honor band

Published 12:09am Wednesday, January 29, 2014

VIDALIA — Kaitlyn Randall’s three-year stretch of playing alto saxophone culminated Saturday when she took the stage at the University of Louisiana-Monroe for an honors band concert.

Randall and eight other Vidalia Junior High School students traveled to the concert as part of the Louisiana Music Educators Association District One Junior High School Band.

Students from across the district, which encompasses Catahoula Parish, Ouachita Parish and others, auditioned for the honor band, and nine students from VJHS made the final cut.

“We were playing more difficult music, but it was fun,” Randall said. “It was good to talk to other people your age who are doing the same thing and get to play with all of them.”

Randall, an eighth grader at VJHS, started playing alto saxophone in the sixth grade in the concert and marching bands at the school.

“I really liked the sound of the sax — the tone and deepness of the sound,” Randall said. “I enjoy marching band more, but concert is fun, too.”

For Randall, being on the football field during games and playing her instrument loud makes marching band the more enjoyable of the two.

“Going to the games is the best part,” she said. “The bus rides there and home on away games is also fun.

“When you’re with the band, you’re like a family.”

Randall and two of the nine other students who made the honor band were also selected as first chair for the instruments, meaning they scored the highest for their instrument out of all the students in the district.

“That was a real honor,” Randall said. “If there was a saxophone solo, I would have led it, but there wasn’t.

“So it really meant that I had to know my music the best because if people didn’t know what was going on they could look at me and catch up.”

Austin Lewis, who plays tenor saxophone, also made first chair for his instrument and said the honors band concert was a joy for him as a musician.

“I was kind of excited and nervous at the same time,” Lewis said. “The music was more difficult, but it was more of a technique thing that you just had to learn how to do.

“It was really fun.”

Both eighth-grade students said they plan on auditioning next year for Vidalia High School’s band and hope to continue playing into college.

“I might go for a different main course of study in college, but I want to keep playing music,” Lewis said. “I plan on playing for a while.”

Lewis is the son of Cheryl and Arthur Lewis.

Randall is the daughter of Wendy and Dennis Randall.