Person of the Week: Sam Belcher
On February 14-17, members of the school band went up to San Antonio for the TMEA All-State Convention to compete and perform. One of these students who got to compete at the convention was junior Sam Belcher, a trumpet player who placed 17th in the state.
“I didn’t expect it because I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Belcher said. “My Area audition was not the best audition I could have, but [the judges] knew I was a good player and I deserved to make it into that spot.”
There are several steps to making it to All-State. Each player has to prepare three pieces and play them at the Region audition. Those who make the top ranks make it to the Area audition, where they play the same three pieces again. A certain amount from Area (for trumpet, it’s the top six) make it to All-State, where they have to prepare three more excerpts.
“They gave us our three pieces initially in mid-July,” Belcher said. “so we had from mid-July to December for Region, and Area was in January.”
Preparing for All-State required several hours of practice.
“[I tried to practice] once per day,” Belcher said. “If I was caught up with stuff, I’d make sure to get a little bit in because every little bit counts.”
Of course, Belcher could not do it all alone.
“My director really gave me tips on how I could improve,” Belcher said. “I also have a private lesson teacher who gave me exercises to do [and] certain ways to practice things, and all of that was combined in those three pieces.”
The trip to San Antonio also gave him the chance to make a few friends.
“I have friends from Langham [Creek] who made [it to] All-State,” Belcher said. “I still know them, and every time I see them, I say hi. After All-State, I got at least 10 All-Staters following me. We’ve got slight networking going around.”
Belcher attributes his cause of joining band to his brother.
“Back in middle school, my brother played trombone,” Belcher said. “He was like my role model, so he kind of let me into band in middle school. I didn’t want to play the same thing as him, so I chose trumpet.”
This helped him make the transition into high school band.
“[As a freshman] I walked into Cy Woods already knowing seniors, juniors, and sophomores,” Belcher said. “That’s another reason that I joined band. I could walk in and already know so many people.”
Besides placing, Belcher also enjoyed meeting all the good players in the process.
“There are some people who are as good as me,” Belcher said. “They are all good people, and they’re people who are successful.”
Belcher said he might just go for first place next year.
“The guy’s who’s first is a junior,” Belcher said. “so it’s possible.”
Belcher also has some advice for students wanting to make it to All-State.
“One thing is not just to practice mindlessly, but to keep that goal in mind,” Belcher said. “Although it starts in July, you’ve got to keep your mind set on that goal until it comes.”