Music state championship brings high school students and their instruments to campus

The campus was alive with the sound of music as students from across the state flocked to Belton to compete in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state competition for solos and ensembles April 12-13.

Voice events were held at First Baptist Church in Belton while all instrumentals took place at UMHB. Audiences were allowed inside of Presser, Shelton Theater, Mayborn campus center and FBC’s sanctuary to listen to the students’ music.

Awty International School of Houston teacher Sina Thompson talked about the determination that students show in preparation for the contest.

“They’ve worked so hard to get here,” Thompson said. “They compete in other events besides this one.… I’m really, really proud of them.”

She also talked about the growing popularity and strength of the music program at her school. In years past, Awty has not been known necessarily as a strong music school.

Jason Peguero conducts a group from Awty International School. Photo by Seth Stephens/The Bells.

Jason Peguero conducts a group from Awty International School. Photo by Seth Stephens/The Bells.

“I heard a couple of the kids on the bus today. One said ‘why are we going to this?’ and the other said ‘because we’re good,’” Thompson said. “And so they’re proud of their work, and it motivates them to keep going.”

Sprawled across the quad and filling the SUB were students with trumpets, saxophones, violins, cellos,  guitars, basses, drums and more.

String quartets could be seen practicing under the shade of trees, drum lines seated under a large tent kept a perpetual beat and duets and trios alike found isolated corners to practice.

In short, a beautiful cacophony of sound flooded the campus.

TAPPS State Music Director Vena Williams orchestrated the event in coordination with the university. She hoped a critical review of students’ performances would help them improve their talents.

“The God-given talents of the students are challenged to meet a standard … (so) we can measure their progress,” Williams said. “We want our students to develop their talent into the best they can be. The students and directors leave the event with information concerning what they can do to improve their skills.”

Members of Kappa Kappa Psi served as volunteers to help run the event.

“We have people stationed everywhere around campus to help various events that are going down,” sophomore church music major and group parliamentarian Lantz Crosthwait said.

Williams praised the work the university did to help the contest go smoothly.

She said, “UMHB faculty and staff and FBC staff put forth a tremendous effort for our organization and our students. The remarkable work done by the UMHB team makes this State event successful.”

Author: Seth Stephens

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