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After a day of auditions at John Hardin High School earlier in the year, two Nelson County students were chosen to participate in the Middle-School All-District Honors Band Feb. 25.
The event, held at Campbellsville University, brought together dozens of some of the state’s most talented school musicians.
“There were a lot of schools” represented, said Rhianna Cranmer, an eighth-grader at Boston School.
After being selected for the band, the students had less than two days to learn and practice the material for the all-district performance.
“The first day, we went and met everyone and the director, and worked on music,” said Morgan Walker, an eighth-grader at Bloomfield Middle and the other student to be selected. “It was really hard because we just had two days.”
Being selected was an honor for both students.
“I was really happy,” Cranmer said, adding that she was nervous before the auditions because she had tried out a previous year but wasn’t ready.
While both students took part in the Middle School weekend, Cranmer and Walker took part in two separate bands, which included about 100 musicians each.
The students are different, not only in their schools, but the instruments they play and their musical backgrounds.
Cranmer was inspired to pursue music in the fourth grade after noticing some of the older students in her school carrying instruments to practice.
“I thought they looked cool and I really wanted to do it, too,” she said.
The next year, her grandmother bought her a flute and she started learning to read music.
“I chose the flute because it was lighter, and it sounded really pretty,” she said.
When she’s not practicing for school, Cranmer pulls from her own musical interests, such as Twenty-One Pilots and Panic! At the Disco, when searching for new songs to learn.
“I’ll Google a song or artist and find the sheet music,” she said.
In addition to the flute, Cranmer plays trumpet and bass drum as well, which she started last year. Bass drum, she said, has become her favorite.
Though she is in middle school and plays with her school’s band, she also participates in band at the high school level with Marching Band, Indoor Drumline and Navy and Steel Symphonic Band at Thomas Nelson High School.
“(Music) is almost always what I’m doing,” she said.
For Walker, who has been involved with band for three years, her introduction to music was natural as several family members play musical instruments.
But the family tradition made the middle schooler want to stand out a little more, too.
“My whole family, they all play woodwinds and I wanted to play something different,” she said. “I wanted to play brass, and play a bigger instrument.”
Walker plays the baritone and the tuba, and said the process of learning the instruments came fairly easy, though she had to adapt to reading the music.
“I knew how to read treble clef because of my family, but I had to learn bass clef,” she said.
The February event was the first time Walker had taken part in the Honors Band, and found the experience rewarding.
During her band’s performance, one of her favorite pieces was “Psalm 42,” which the director dedicated to one of his family members as well as Walker’s father, who passed away from cancer.
The event validated some of the hard work the students had put in to their skills, making local band officials proud.
“Rhianna is an extraordinary player with unlimited potential and leadership capacity,” said high school band director Shawn Robinson.
T.J. Metcalf, director for Bloomfield, said Walker had come into the band with a strong performance, especially since she moved to the area from Michigan only about three months ago.
“Morgan has been an excellent addition to the group,” he said. “I’m very pleased with how well she has fit in with the group — she has come out of her shell and is a wonderful student. I’m proud of all of her hard work and I know she’ll continue to be successful in the future.”
Both students plan to continue with band once they enter high school.