PHS band and choir students accepted to state and regional honor groups

Emma Johnson

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Photo Graphic Courtesy of Emma Johnson

A total of seven high school students, freshmen from seniors, made the cut to qualify for All-Northwest and All-State honor groups, ranging from orchestra, band, and choir.

Throughout the course of high school, a certain sentiment is commonly expressed by teachers and coaches alike in both the classroom and playing field: the pursuit of excellence. Meeting the bare minimum is an expectation, so, when one is able to achieve above and beyond, it truly speaks to the person’s character and commitment. For a select few involved with the music department at PHS, this expectation was surpassed. 

In the past week, it was announced that senior Gabby Paterson (Clarinet), junior Kik Hayano (Percussion), and junior Breckin Streeter (Tenor I) were chosen for the NAfME [Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming] All-Northwest Honor Group, which is set to be hosted in Bellevue, Washington. 

Additionally, senior Hannah Sears (Trumpet), senior Gabby Paterson (Clarinet), junior Madison Johnson (Violin), junior Breckin Streeter (Tenor I), sophomore Julian Frost (Bass II) and freshman Levi Hawley (Tenor I) were invited to participate in the Wyoming All-State Band/Choir/Orchestra in Sheridan this coming January. 

This feat was not possible without a lot of practice and new, as well as the returning members recognized how much time has to be dedicated to rehearsing. 

“I began practicing the All-State and All-Northwest pieces as soon as I was given the music,” junior Breckin Streeter said. “My grandmother helped me get through most of the music, but eventually got me into private lessons with Mr. Munari… he used to teach the choir in Cody and he helped me to better everything from the way the words sounded to how loud I should be.” 

The same type of thought process was nearly identical to one of the seniors. For these teenagers, the priority always went to put in the work way before it was necessary or mandated. 

“I got the music about two months in advance, and I began practicing as soon as I could,” senior Hannah Sears said. “I put several hours of practice into my audition and it definitely paid off.” 

I got the music about two months in advance, and I began practicing as soon as I could. I put several hours of practice into my audition and it definitely paid off.”

— Hannah Sears

And even with the amount of time poured into reading sheet music, it is evident that nothing can quite prepare these musicians and vocalists for the bundle of nerves that come with the recording of the auditions, whether it be strictly statewide or regional. 

“The hardest part is just getting the courage to go into the recording room,” Sears said. “I was incredibly nervous, and that definitely impacted how I felt about my audition, but the people recording it were so nice and Mr. Fabela gave me a little pep talk which helped a lot.” 

However, once the nerves wore off, the talent was able to shine through and eventually turn into excitement a few weeks later. 

“I found out yesterday [Nov. 28] when I walked into class and a few people told me congratulations,” sophomore Julian Frost said. “I was confused about what they were referring to, and it was when I looked at the whiteboard in front of that class where it said, ‘Congratulations for making it to All-State’ … I kinda just started jumping around and yelling. I’m really looking forward to being able to sing in a way more experienced choir and be able to make great music.” 

Now that the list has been released, all that is left to do is to continue practicing and anticipating the connections that will be made in the coming months. 

“I am most excited to get out of Wyoming for a big music competition,” junior Kiyoko Hayano said. “Last month I went to Montana, and it was a very wonderful experience to just meet more people. I think All-Northwest brings a wider diversity of people that I’m not used to playing with.” 

Until then, the passion for music will continue to inspire young musicians to continue to achieve excellence and pursue greatness.

“Music is something that helps me express myself,” Streeter said. “I’m glad to have this opportunity to go sing in a large choir that shares some of my love for music.”