2 Nacogdoches High School Students make Texas All-State Bands

Nacogdoches High band
Nacogdoches High band(KTRE)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 8:14 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 8:20 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - To make the Texas All-State band, students have to go through a gauntlet of auditions. There are 100 chairs for 18 ensembles, and over 70,000 students are aiming for those spots this year.

“Super difficult to do,” Jacob Weems, Director of Bands for Nacogdoches ISD said. “The competition is extremely fierce.:

And two of those spots were claimed by Nacogdoches High School students. Aidan Finnerud, a senior who’s making his third all-state band, and Audrey Bray making her first in the 6A and 5A All-State Bands respectively.

It starts with them having to audition through regionals, area and finally on state level, with the competition getting tougher with each step.

Each of them are taking it all in.

“I think making it three years in a row is surreal to me,” Finnerud said.

“It’s very exciting knowing that I finally done this hard work to make it to All-State,” Bray said.

And getting the top spot in the state comes from simple beginnings for both of them

“I was told trumpet was cool by my mom,” Finnerud said. “So I decided you know what all the cool guys play trumpet so I’m going to be a cool guy and play trumpet.”

“I didn’t want to do it,” Bray said on joining band in 6th grade. “But I decided I might as well try. If I hated it I could quit. And then it just kinda happened and I fell in love with it.”

With Finnerud making his third All-State Band, this will be only his second year going on the trip, which was cancelled the first time he made it due to COVID.

He added there’s no experience like it, and he’s looking forward to Bray experiencing it with him this year.

“It’s just incredibly different than a normal high school band experience because everyone’s so good,” He said.

With eight students representing East Texas this year with the All-State Bands, Weems said it makes him proud that two of them are his students.

“These are the top musicians in the entire state of Texas,” Weems said. “The cream of the crop. So these kids are representing Nacogdoches and East Texas in a big way.”