Two Evans High School band members hit a music-career high note when they were asked to perform as part of the Georgia Music Educators Association's All-State Jazz Band.
Wes Roberts, 16, and Robert Truan, 17, are performing this weekend in Savannah, Ga., as members of an elite group of high school jazz musicians chosen from across the state.
"(Two chosen from one high school) is really cool," said Reid Hall, Evans' band director. "We are very excited about that ... These guys are going to be so excited when they get down there. This is the best jazz players in the state, so it is a really cool opportunity for them. Not many people get to do it when only 21 a year (are selected)."
Wes, a bass trombonist, has been playing since the sixth grade. He plays the bass and tenor trombone and made last year's All-State Concert Band.
"We were really surprised," Wes said. "It was really hard to make it, but having two people from Evans is really cool."
Wes and Robert made it through an October audition of sight-reading and scales to the final audition in Valdosta, Ga., in December. The second was more intensive with the inclusion of playing two prepared songs and improvisation.
Wes, a junior, got the jazz bug early. He has played in the school's jazz band for three years and hopes to become a band director some day.
"Jazz is one of those things, if you get hooked on it, you are hooked for life," Hall said. "It is just a lot of fun,"
Jazz is a new world to Robert, who made the exclusive band by playing the vibraphone - a percussion instrument similar to a xylophone with metal bars and rotating discs to produce a vibrato sound. Though a senior playing different percussion instruments since the sixth grade, this is the first year Robert, 17, joined the school's jazz band.
"This is my first year playing jazz," Robert said. "I am having to learn it all real fast. I like it. It is fun and different."
Hall, who now directs the high school band, taught both students at Evans Middle School and knows they earned the honor.
"They are great," Hall said. "They are the kind of guys you give them a little information and they take off with it. It is neat to watch that.
"It just takes a lot of extra time beyond the average day," Hall said. "These guys put in a lot of extra work. Many an afternoon I have seen Robert Truan playing the vibes and practicing his part."
The musicians are dedicated.
Both meet for jazz band rehearsals twice a week at 7 a.m., but were stunned to hear they made the state band.
"Yeah, we were really surprised," Wes said.
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