Playing His Way to State


Photo by Samantha Horvath

Junior, Jacob Smith playing suring a Fair Grove Pep Game

Samantha Horvath

Jacob Smith is a junior at Fair Grove High who tried out for district honor band and was placed amongst a concert band, playing 5th chair clarinet. 

Smith plays four instruments on a daily basis, as well as dabbling in others in his personal time. These instruments include guitar, drums, clarinet, and tenor saxophone. During his voluntary time with the pep band, his main instrument is the guitar. Marching season is spent with the tenor saxophone and during concert season he plays his clarinet. Smith has gone above and beyond this 2019-2020 school year by auditioning for district honor band. 

Honor band is a concert season band that students from across the district get the chance to audition for. If they make it, then they are given music pieces to practice that is then put together in a full performance. Smith comments, “There is one 3 hour rehearsal the week before performance and a full day performance the day of the concert.” Achieving a spot with the honor band is no easy task. 

In order to get into a spot with the honor band you have to master a certain set of scales, etudes, and kloses all put together in a packet that is provided. The judges make you play the chromatic scale and four other scales of their choice out of eight. You are then brought to a separate room to play certain sections of your kloses and your etudes. You then get results later that night or the following morning. Smith feels that the process of getting selected is very competitive, stating, “Immediately as you walk into the school (which is Parkview), there’s a cafeteria filled to the brim with students practicing their audition material. You find the room you’re to perform in so you can find it when it’s time to audition. You head back to the cafeteria and wait until it’s time for you to audition. You are welcome to practice while you’re waiting. When it’s close to time for your audition you head to the audition room. When I arrived to the room there was a huge line (which isn’t normal but the clarinet judges were behind). When you walk in the judges are facing the wall away for you (that way they can’t discriminate looks). The judges choose the best by however many players the band needs (all though they may accept more or less depending on how close the scores are between the last few slots).” 

Smith puts in around five hours of practice a week for his spot in the honor band. This time taken out of his daily life doesn’t affect his school work because he always sets a goal to complete his homework before practicing. 

The upcoming and complete performance of the district honor band is being held on January 11th at the Southwest Baptist University at 6:30 and has free admission to watch.