Soft-spoken and shy – Elise Hegar's voice catches as she talks about the recent honor she received. You'd never hear her brag or boast and her few words speak of humility and gratitude. You'd never guess that the 16-year-old doesn't need to raise her voice to be heard — she needs only to raise her horn.
Hegar plays the trumpet and just made All-State Band, the highest honor a high school band student can receive.
Nick Luggerio, who has led the Hornet Marching Band at Huntsville High School for the past seven years, said this is the second consecutive year that Huntsville has sent a student to the All-State Band, an achievement that comes after a lapse of 25 years.
“It's very highly selective and we're very proud of Elise for doing this,” Luggerio said. “It's really neat to have watched her grow and develop as a musician. She really speaks through her horn.”
The Texas Music Educators Association holds auditions in 28 regions throughout the state to pick the members of the All-State Band. More than 1,500 students are selected through a process that begins with more than 55,000 students from across the state who compete for the right to perform in one of 13 ensembles including bands, orchestras and choirs.
All-State students will have three days of rehearsals at the annual TMEA state convention Feb. 9-12 before the entire band performs on the final day. Luggerio said there will be 21 trumpet players at the event who will audition to determine their rank in the band.
“But they're all a part of All-State Band,” he said. “They give a college-level or professional concert after those three days. All the directors and families are able to see what they've worked on for three days. It's really a neat opportunity for the kids.”
Luggerio said there's also a college night at the event, where students will be exposed to representatives of colleges from around the state.
“There's about 40 or 50 colleges represented there,” he said. “That's where they start to talk about scholarship opportunities, and she'll get to meet kids from throughout the state. It's a neat, neat environment for them.”
Upon graduation, Hegar said, she's looking at music programs at Sam Houston State University and the University of North Texas in Denton. She said making All-State band has made her feel proud and thankful for all the support she's received over the years.
“It's a real honor to make All-State,” she said. “From all the support from band, my directors, my private lessons teacher and my family — it's a real honor. I thank my parents for supporting me through all this.”
Hegar is the daughter of Shannon and Mark Lindloff of Huntsville.
To learn more about the Texas All-State program, visit the TMEA website at www.tmea.org.