Permian notches seven all-state musicians

Permian High School had seven band and choir students achieve all-state honors from the Texas Music Educators Association next month during the organization’s convention.

For band, all-state students are Justice Dominguez, a 16-year-old sophomore flutist; Payne Morris, a 17-year-old senior; and Brianna Galindo, a 17-year-old junior percussionist.

The choir members are Megan Freeman, a 17-year-old senior; Ashton Aranda, a 15-year-old sophomore; Joshua Smiley, a 17-year-old junior; and Benjamin Corman, a 17-year-old junior.

With Permian’s varsity choir, Kantorei, being one of the invited choirs at the Feb. 14 through Feb. 17 TMEA convention, there will be double the excitement, Head Choir Director Aaron Hawley said.

“We are very proud of them and know they’re going to have a fantastic time in San Antonio,” Hawley said.

Kantorei will perform at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Texas Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and the all-state students will perform Feb. 17, Hawley said.

Director of Bands Jeff Whitaker said the students worked hard and earned the right to be named all-state students.

“That is the most difficult things to do in music in Texas is to be named an all-stater. We have three other kids who were first alternate. That means they were one chair away from being named an all-stater. When you get to that level, it’s so competitive and you’ve got to realize that these kids were competing (with other students) from El Paso to San Angelo to Amarillo, including Lubbock, Abilene and Wichita Falls,” Whitaker said.

Because of a rule change a couple of years ago, Whitaker said West Texas has fewer opportunities to have all-state students. He said the metro areas with larger populations have more of a chance now and that makes the process even more competitive.

“It’s something that many, many people aspire to do, but few ever get to,” Whitaker said.

The students said receiving the designation is the culmination of a dream that they had to work really hard for.

“It’s just really awesome that I get to make it as a senior,” Freeman said.

She noted that she has had to put in a lot of extra time to reach the goal she’s had since she was a young girl.

Freeman plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in either finance or pre-pharmacy science. The thing she likes most about choir is making music with her best friends and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

Corman, whose whole family sings, has reached all-state status for the second year. He added that his family’s love of music spread to him, as well.

“… It takes a lot of hard work and dedication,” Corman said.

The secret, he said, is learning the music fast and perfecting it with your voice teacher or directors and “just keep practicing over and over until you know the music truly without even music sheet.”

Smiley said reaching all-state is a great honor. He plans to attend the University of Texas of the Permian Basin after graduation.

“It’s really tough,” Smiley said. “It takes a lot of work and to just achieve it and finally just get the recognition that you have achieved it, it’s just a great feeling.”

Smiley said it requires using your spare time and working “super duper hard” to perfect your music and make it as though you are singing in a concert with no one watching.

Aranda said she was one of the younger singers selected for all state.

“I’m really excited mainly because I still have two more years and I’ve been working to get this far since the eighth grade when I first made the region choir,” she said.

She added that she thinks she could make all state again, but it would take equally as much work if not more.

“Making all state means you have to give up almost all of your time to practicing and perfecting pieces and you can’t settle no matter how good you get on the songs because you don’t know how good the competition is. It took a lot of practice and preparing for me. I’ve been preparing since June,” Aranda said.

Galindo said it took a lot of extra hours to make all state in percussion and she thanked Associate Director of Bands John Carroll for his help.

“… He not only helped me, but he also helped other students through the process,” Galindo said. “He’s a really great teacher and I’m really glad I got to work with him.”

Director of Bands Jeff Whitaker said Dominguez is one of the rare flute players to make all-state from Permian.

“It’s like all of your hard work finally paid off, just to finally be there with the best of the best,” Dominguez said.

Like his peers, Morris said making all-state is like a dream come true. He plans to attend West Texas A&M University in Canyon and major in music education and performance.

“I started working on the music (in) July in band camp. I was ecstatic and having the band directors around me to help me get to where I’m at is just amazing,” Morris said.

If You Go
  • What: Kantorei, Permian’s varsity choir.
  • When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5.
  • Where: Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center, 1310 N. Farm to Market Road 1788.
  • Cost: $10, $15 and $18, depending on seating.
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