After all the long hours of practicing and undying determination, senior William Cook ended a 17-year drought of Lufkin High School band member making the All-State Band.
Cook said he realizes the importance and effort needed make the All-State Band, and even more considering he is the first trumpet player to receive the honor in the last 28 years.
“It feels nice to make a name for myself, but I worry the proverbial drought isn’t over yet for Lufkin,” Cook said. “It took me five and a half years of private lessons in Houston to overcome this barrier.”
In the spring semester, band generally doesn’t interfere with his school work, but, he admits, the fall is ‘another story’.
“We work late hours during marching season,” Cook said. “I’ve lost a lot of sleep because there are times I’d come home from a football game at 1 a.m. and still have three hours worth of homework.”
During those few months of marching season, Cook had roughly seven months of preparation. Making the All-State band is a multi-step process that begins in August and, assuming one makes it past each round, continues into February.
Judging panel preferences differ from regional to state try-outs, Cook said, adding that East Texas regional judges prefer the ‘Old Cornet’ style, whereas the Dallas judges prefer ‘Chicago’ style, a contemporary school of style today.
“It’s difficult to cater to both audiences,” Cook said. “I fear when it comes to TMEA All- State, I have been the victim of unfortunate circumstance.”
According to “Band Man”, Scott Williams, although the process of making the band is a difficult journey, the tryout process gets easier.
” You get better at this tryout every year,” Band Man said. “It’s a difficult process and one mistake can keep you from making it.”
During the competition, 30 trumpet players competed in the 5A division. It is a set number chosen from the top of each All- Region band in the area.
Now that he has made the All-State Band, Cook has a new set of audition music he will work on for his All-State chair test in early February, which will determine which ensemble he is in for the concert series in San Antonio Feb. 8-11.
“Willie has worked very hard for this honor,” Band Man said,”Now William gets to experience All-State with the best musicians, which he will tryout for placement and choice of two bands and an orchestra.”
Now that William has made state, Band Man believes, “‘The sky is the limit, music will be his passion.’