Musician makes state, attends convention

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Rachel Reuter

Senior Maddi Weaver stands in her marching uniform outside of Children's Health Stadium. "Outside of playing bassoon, I'm a drum major for the marching band," Weaver said. "Sadly, my time for being a drum major has come to an end, but I'll continue using the leadership skills that I developed in the future."

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Despite being full of people, the room is cold. The tapping of feet and the soft popping of keys, highlighted by the occasional cough, are the only sounds to be heard. Suddenly, the room monitor calls out a letter. At his command, a musician takes the chair and performs. When they are done, another musician takes a chair, and another, and another, in a grueling cycle known as the area audition.

“When you audition at area, there is a whole new level of nervousness that kicks in,” bassoonist Maddi Weaver said. “You have to be super prepared and basically use muscle memory to power through the nerves and come out on top.”

When you audition at area, there is a whole new level of nervousness that kicks in. You have to be super prepared and basically use muscle memory to power through the nerves and come out on top.”

— Maddi Weaver

Weaver did come out on top. She is one of three people in the three-hundred-sixty-one strong Mighty Eagle Band to be dubbed an all-state musician.

“Making all-state has been a serious goal of mine for about four years now,” Weaver said. “After I progressed to high school and learned about the all-state process, I made it my goal to advance to state.”

The all-state process spans about seven months. The audition études (short solos) are posted on the Texas Music Educator’s Association (TMEA) website towards the end of July. The first and second phases of region auditions are held in early December, and the area audition is held in January.

“I like it,” Director of Bands Brandon Holt said. “Overall it’s about as fair as it can be.”

Musicians who make state prepare various excerpts of music to audition in February for a spot in one of the ensembles at the TMEA Clinic/Convention in San Antonio.

“I really enjoyed practicing the excerpts for the audition. The pieces that were selected are highly interesting,” Weaver said. “As a musician, it’s always fun to dive in and learn new literature.”

Weaver made the top wind ensemble at state.

“She got to play with Frank Ticheli,” Holt said. “He did ‘Blue Shades.'”

When Holt was in high school, he made all state jazz in Oklahoma on alto saxophone.

“It was conducted by a guy named Frank Mantooth,” Holt said. “[He] was a celebrated composer in the jazz idiom. I was lead alto player there. He just passed out one of his new charts and it had an alto saxophone feature in it. It was the hardest thing I had ever seen in my life. I failed it two times. He said ‘Are you gonna be able to do this, Mr. Holt?’ I responded ‘Yes, sir,’ and then nailed it.”

Holt used his musical skills to become a band director, and Weaver has similar ideas for her future with music.

“I am planning on going to the University of Houston to study music education,” Weaver said. “If I’m able to, I’d love to perform in either professional or community ensembles, but if not, I’ll definitely keep playing bassoon as a hobby.”

Alyssa Tranbarger
Weaver directs the marching band during a performance of their 2019 show “Reign.” “She’s benefited (the band) by her leadership skills, her consistent strive to always be a better person, and to be a better musician,” Holt said. “She constantly works to improve the people that she’s around.”

Weaver being a senior, college is right around the corner. But her contribution to the band is, according to Holt, “unparalleled.”

“Her skills on the bassoon are tremendous, as can be seen by her being an all state musician,” Holt said. “Her leadership through her playing is what’s helped the ensemble the very most.”

However, Weaver’s musicianship is not the only thing that has benefitted the band.

“I’ve learned from Maddi to be aware of the unseen when dealing with students,” Holt said. “What I mean is that sometimes as a teacher, we need to approach everything we do by thinking of being in the shoes of other people. (I have watched) her interact with other people and be kind while being real frustrated behind the scenes. (She comes) at it as a servant, versus that of a leader.”

The all-state process is but one facet of the high school musician’s life, but it has had an impact on Weaver.

“I learned some valuable lessons in perseverance,” Weaver said. “There were times that the last thing I wanted to do was to practice the music, but I made myself, and I’m reaping the benefits of that dedication.”

Story has been updated for clarity, style and grammar rules.