• 48°
franklin county times

Two RBHS students earn honor band selection

Ethan Ray and Anna Jackson, sophomores, were recently chosen to be a part of Samford Honor Band.
Ethan Ray and Anna Jackson, sophomores, were recently chosen to be a part of Samford Honor Band.

By Brandi Miller for the FCT


Red Bay High School students Anna Jackson and Ethan Ray participated in an event in which few other students have the opportunity to participate.  Both were chosen to be part of the Samford University Honor Band.

This is a prestigious honor that many band students strive for, but only a few achieve.

Jackson and Ray, both sophomores, sent in applications and were then chosen to participate in the event, which took place over a three-day period, Jan. 8-10. Both students then had to go through auditions to find what chair they would be. Jackson made fourth chair out of 16 trumpets, and Ray made sixth chair.

“In preparation for this event, we had to prepare a solo piece that we would play for a judge that would showcase our skills,” said Jackson. “We would also practice playing music that we had never seen before, which was another requirement for the audition.”

Both students are leaders and veteran members of the RBHS band, so neither are novices when it comes to participating in band or playing with other musicians.

“We had a lot of fun playing music with a lot of very good musicians,” said Ray. “We spent more than 12 hours practicing our music. We also got to partake in master classes to learn about our instrument.”

Jackson echoed Ray’ s statements.

“You are basically put into a band with some of the most talented players in the state, none of which you know beforehand. You are given about 15 hours over the span of three days to learn and make music with these people. On the last day you perform what you have learned in the concert.”


Jackson said the best part of the experience for her was seeing the end result.

“The best part is right at the end of your part of the concert, when the director hasn’t put down his hands, the audience hasn’t started to clap, and that last note of the piece is just finishing with its echo throughout the concert hall, and you just have this overwhelming sense of accomplishment. You have been able to take three pieces of music you have never seen before, around 60-100 people you have never met before, and over the span of three days, you have been able to turn it into this amazing piece of art.”

Ray also agreed that getting to play in the concert was the best part for him, while the hardest part was the audition.

“The hardest part was the audition,” said Ray. “I was so nervous, but apparently I did pretty well.”

Besides having the experience of a live audition and being able to perform in a concert, both students said this event has helped them in other ways.

“Participating in the honor band helped me to see that I might want to go to school at Samford,” said Ray. “I also might change my occupation plans based on my experience this weekend.”

“This event introduces you to new styles of music you’ve probably never seen before at a difficulty you just won’t find in your average high school band,” said Jackson. “This definitely prepares you for a future in music.”

Both Jackson and Ray said that they want to thank their band director Jonathan Hill, who made the whole thing possible, and they both wanted to thank Lonette and Steve Burg for their hospitality.

Jackson wanted to extend a special thanks to her parents and grandparents for making sure she was where she was supposed to be when she was supposed to be there.