Fifty-two members of the 100-plus member Daleville High School “Pride of the South” Band tried out for the annual Alabama Bandmasters Association competitions recently. The bandmasters association is part of the Alabama Music Educators Association.

Thirty students made the District 8 band and 10 made the honor band. Band members are judged on up to 15 different scales, technical and lyrical pieces and playing after seeing new music for a brief moment.

“We have the highest number of honor band participants from any school in the Wiregrass area or the district for our band competition in the 13 counties in Southeast Alabama,” said Band Director Mark Nichols. “The Daleville Band is proud to have maintained that record (highest number in attendance) for the last seven years.”

Nichols, whose assistant band director is Stephanie Robertson, said the students are still preparing for additional competitions and performances.

“This year the all-state students will be traveling to Montgomery…All of the all-state musicians will rehearse together to give a concert on Saturday at the basketball arena at Alabama State University,” Nichols explained. “They will then audition again on their instrument against all of the all-state players and determine their seat order. The students will be made up of four bands and present a concert to parents and the Alabama River Region.”

As in previous years, Nichols is proud of his students and their hard work. “We are proud that 52 students took the challenge to better themselves and shoot for something that is very challenging. The more the students challenge themselves then the better they will be for other life challenges. Their individual improvements also make the band better.

“We are very proud of our seniors who have been competing for the All-State spot since they were in the seventh grade. I am especially proud of flute player Grace Lim, as she has attained this honor five times. It is amazing to have talent, such as hers, and the other students in our band. On the other end, we had one student, Leah Steward, make all-state for the first time and she is only in the seventh grade.”

Lim was also the drum major during marching season.

Steward, who is 12 and plays the saxophone, said the stress getting ready for tryouts was hard to deal with at times, but she is so glad that she did it. “It’s really awesome to make it the first time I ever tried out,” she said.

DHS students making the All-State Band are Acacia Abbott, Catalina Smith, Rodney Hunter, Takeria Adams, Eddie Doxtater, Ana Escalante, Alyssa Aquino, Caitlin Messer, Grace Lim and Leah Steward.

DHS students making District Honor Band are Storm Turley, Sam Ferrer, Eddie Doxtater, Acacia Abbott, Takeria Adams, Caitlin Messer, Ana Escalante, Alyssa Aquino, Alyssa Straw,

Paige Henderson, Grace Lim, Kylie Jones, Immanuela Montalvo, Rodney Hunter, Graysen Faulk, Jayden Faulk, Helena Deras, Shakyra Pollard, Andrea Cruz Morales, Aniston Falcone, Megann Dallas, Leah Steward, Alyssa Gomez, Gabrielle Scott, Grace Smith, Catalina Smith, Esmerelda Hernandez, Anthony Nash, Alana Gordon and Brayton Moore.

Doxtater said he has made district band many times, but struggled over the years to make it into the honor band, making it as an alternate three different times.

“It’s super satisfying to make it this time,” he said.

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