LAWTON, OK (TNN) - The Elgin High School Band has just one more practice until they perform at the state competition on Thursday in Ada. It’s their fifth consecutive time making it to state. The students were focused on playing the right note, at the right time as they practiced this Wednesday morning because the state competition is getting closer and closer.
“I want to remember to be calm,” Junior Sarah Moore said. “To try to give my best performance and to remember that I’m not performing for myself but for everybody in the band.”
It’s Moore's fourth time going to state. She said she hasn't always enjoyed it like she is now. Moore said her passion began after she started playing the bassoon.
“It’s difficult,” Moore said. “I like the challenge.”
The band, which has more than 120 students, qualified to go to the state competition because they got ones, which is the best score they can get, in state competitions both in the fall and the spring.
“We get to show people what we do here at Elgin,” Senior Sebastian Palmer said. “How hard we work and the kinds of things we strive for. And pretty much show off that we work for what we want, and it’s not just given.”
Michael Palmer, the band teacher at Elgin, told the students this morning that they have the skills to win, but they just need to concentrate on their songs to do well.
“Allow yourself to really focus on what’s happening to be a part of the music experience that’s going on because it’s pretty cool,” he said. “When you are on, man, it’s fun. Be a part of that. Don’t allow yourself to be disconnected.”
At the competition, the students are facing a big task because Michael says they’re the only ones performing three songs.
“Trying to continue to challenge them, and build on their successes I just decided ‘hey, let’s try to do a third tune and see what happens’,” Michael said.
But it’s not just the performance on stage they must get a one to be a state sweepstakes band, which is a band’s version of winning a state championship. They also have to get a one in the sight-reading portion of the competition. The students practice their sight-reading multiple times a week because Thursday they’ll be given a song with only eight minutes to look it over before performing it in front of the judges.
Sebastian Palmer said the competition all comes down to trust.
"Trusting them that they're going to make the right decisions and play it like that know how to play it so I can play it the way I know how to play it," Sebastian said. "Putting it all together to make all that music."
The band will meet Thursday morning where they’ll get their final practice in before going to Ada. They should know if they are a state sweepstakes band before they leave.