• February 24, 2020

All-state musicians named - Odessa American: ECISD

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  • Top of the Class

    From left, 18-year-old Justice Dominguez, 17-year-old Javin Contreras, 18-year-old Damian Christian, 16-year-old Dillon Martin, 17-year-old Ashton Aranda, and 17-year-old Raeslyn Miller, are among the three band members and three choir members from Permian High School who were selected to be All-State Musicians.

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 4:15 pm

Permian High School musicians from band and choir recently entered some elite company having been selected for all-state honors.

Set for Feb. 12 through Feb. 15 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, it will feature 30,000 attendees from around the world. It also is the 100th anniversary of the convention. Ector County ISD Fine Arts Director Aaron Hawley said about 90,000 students start out and only about 2 percent are chosen.

Six PHS students were chosen — three from choir and three from band.

They include Javin Contreras, a 17 year old junior in percussion; Dillon Martin, a 16-year-old junior saxophone player; Justice Dominguez, an 18-year-old senior flute player; Ashton Aranda, a 17-year-old senior choir member; Raeslyn Miller, a 17-year-old senior choir member; and Damian Christian, an 18-year-old senior men’s choir member.

Director of Fine Arts Aaron Hawley said the students leave Feb. 12 and rehearse Feb. 12-Feb. 14. Their concert is Feb. 15. He said it’s also a chance for teachers to engage in some “superior” professional development so they send as many teachers as possible.

“It’s very intense rehearsal time, but that’s part of the magic is you get the top 2 percent there; you rehearse for eight hours a day for three days straight, then your concert on Saturday is unbelievable. There’s about 30,000 people, I believe, that attend the convention but not all of them go to every concert but you have some of the very top teachers who get to see your students perform so it’s a life-changing experience for the students,” Hawley said.

Director of Choirs Kenneth Sieloff said he was very proud of the students.

“They worked very hard. (It was) a lot of individual effort on their part and I know that they have slaved many hours on this music and making it to an all-state ensemble is a huge honor and we’re very proud of them,” Sieloff said.

Miller made all-state for the second time.

“I was really excited,” she said. “It’s a fantastic experience and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I’m just really excited and I’m proud of the work that I’ve put in. It’s nerve racking to hear results and everything, but once you hear your name called in the top five chairs it’s just kind of a sigh of relief.”

Miller added that she’s glad to be able to perform with the treble choir again.

“It’s really special. … ,” she said.

Christian said this is the first time he has made all-state.

“I’m really excited because I have never made it and it’s something I’ve been working for the past three years. I’m just really excited to just get the experience. I’m also a little nervous because I don’t know what to expect, but I’m really grateful for the opportunity … ,” Christian said.

Getting in his senior year, he said, is really special. Last year, he said, he was very nervous when he auditioned so he wasn’t thinking, but this year, he felt more prepared.

“I think it’s just part of the plan because every year I’ve gotten (into) a further round, and last year I made it to area. This year, I made it to state … I think it’s just great that it’s my senior year because everything that I’ve worked for is finally happening,” Christian said.

“… I was pretty prepared this year, this is in the bag and I’m just going to show them what I have.” One of the judges told him he had a very beautiful voice and he stuck out from everybody.

This is Aranda’s third year to get into the choir.

“… I know as soon as I walk in it’s going to be kind of a refreshing moment to hear all the voices singing at once, and actually getting into the music with a clinician, it’s always different when you’re going from singing with 20 girls to singing with 300,” Aranda said.

She said it was strange going for her last audition because she had done it the last three years. Aranda added that she’s looking forward to moving her vocal performance to a more individual level.

“… But I feel like all state’s been really good helping me prepare for that because it’s had me analyze the music I go through and work through it and look at things other than just notes and rhythms,” Aranda said.

This is the first time Contreras has made it to all-state.

He said practicing before and after school made a big difference.

Dominguez said this is her third year going to all-state and it has never gotten old.

“It’s truly an honor,” she said. “It’s really cool. It’s such a small percentage. It’s put on a pedestal, but really it’s more than just the title to me. It’s just the experience that comes with it that I always get super excited about, not just seeing my name on a poster saying I made all-state. It’s really cool.”

Martin said earning the all-state designation for the first time hasn’t sunk in yet. He said he got close to getting in last year, but didn’t make it.

“After I made it, I still didn’t really feel like I made it. It’s kind of a surreal experience,” Martin said. “It still doesn’t really feel like it happened.”

The difference this year was motivation.

“… I got the results and cut them out and put it on the front of my practice journal, and so every time I pulled out my practice journal, I saw the results and it just motivated me. I also got a lot more help from way smarter people, from better private teachers. I’m sure that helped a lot,” Martin said.

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