Permian Basin students named 2023 Texas All-State Musicians

Permian Basin students named 2023 Texas All-State Musicians

The Permian Basin is celebrating the achievements of dozens of students who have earned their place as Texas All-State Musicians with the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA).

The students underwent TMEA’s arduous auditions along with a pool of 70,000 other high schoolers, with only 2 percent of those auditioning being chosen as All-State Musicians. See a list of these musicians below.

The audition process involves regional try-outs before a panel of judges that rank instruments or voices, with the best-performing musicians advancing to compete against others in their TMEA Area. Those musicians that rank the highest in their TMEA Area competitions earn their spot performing in one of 18 All-State ensembles in Band, Orchestra and Vocal divisions, according to TMEA.

Ector County ISD Executive Director of Fine Arts Aaron Hawley said that to be designated as an “All-State Musician” means that these students are “the best, individually, in the state of Texas.” Hawley underscored that “it’s an elite honor,” and that “they’ll be considered All-State Musicians for the rest of their life.”

Odessa High School (OHS) senior Caitlin Fitzgerald is marking her third time as an All-State Musician and said that the experience of having been down this road before “didn’t make it easier” but that she was “more confident” because of having faith in her abilities. She said that she learned the value of turning her mistakes into strengths. “Things I’ve done wrong in the past couple of years, I used them this year to learn and get better and to make it again.”

Permian High School Choir Director Laurie Wash—who saw seven of her choir’s performers earn their place as 2023 All-State Musicians—said that it “ultimately comes down to the student’s diligence and hard work.” She said that it takes “a lot of rehearsal time to find those intricacies in their voices that make them special so that they will stand out in a sea of children that the judges are hearing.” She added, “Every one of us is gifted with something that makes our voices or our particular instrument special. It’s finding that and trying to bring that out that’s a part of that process.”

“[It takes] a lot of rehearsal time to find those intricacies in their voices that make them special…,” she said, adding that “The more that we encourage them to practice and develop their own skills, that pays off when you get together as an ensemble.”

“Diligence and hard work,” emphasized Wash. “It’s one thing to be talented, but it’s another to have the drive to keep…themselves moving.”

The 2023 TMEA All-State members include:

BIG SPRING ISD: Zachary Conner, Big Spring HS, Tenor Trombone; David Villagrana, 11,Big Spring HS, Bb Clarinet.

CRANE COUNTY ISD: Tyler Tarin, Crane HS, Tenor-trombone; Kayla Santos, 11, Crane HS, Bb Clarinet.

ECTOR COUNTY ISD: Kaleb Burton, 11, PHS Choir, Tenor 2; Kendra Burton, 12, PHS Choir, Soprano 1; Justus Davis, 11, OHS Choir, Tenor 1, OHS Choir; Caitlin Fitzgerald, 12, OHS Choir, Soprano 2; Elijah Keast, 11, PHS Choir, Bass 1; Jenesis Paget, 10, PHS Choir, Alto 2; Jaizaya Parrish, 12, PHS Choir, Alto 2; Shaun Price, 11, PHS Band, Horn; Caidence Searcy, 10, PHS Choir, Alto 1; Mason Simmons, 12, PHS Choir, Tenor 1; Cade Woolf, 11, PHS Band, Eb Clarinet; Abraham Davalos, 12, Compass Academy Charter School, Tenor-Bass (Choir).

FORT STOCKTON ISD: Fernando Corrales, 12, Fort Stockton HS, Cornet/Trumpet; Abbigayle Keesee, 12, Stanton HS, F Horn.

MIDLAND ISD: Margie Altany, 11, Midland HS, Bassoon; Jordan Dada, 12, Legacy HS, Mixed Choir Bass 2; Hayden Smith, 11, Legacy HS, Tenor-Bass Choir Bass 2.

SAN ANGELO ISD: Mia Wilcox, 12, Central HS, Flute; Lauren Ochoa, 12, Central HS, eb Clarinet; Gregory Faught, 12, Central HS, String Bass; Heidi Bundick, 11, Lake View HS, String Bass; Merit Shelton, 10, Central HS, Tenor 2.