Band Members Sharpen Their Skills at All-East

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Rebecca Veach, Senior Reporter

On February 6, at the Park Vista hotel in Gatlinburg, seven Karns students unpacked their luggage and prepared for a busy, music filled weekend and for an action packed concert on February 8. For the next 2 days they would participate in All East, which is run by The East Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association (E.T.S.B.& O.A). The Association uses All East as a is a way to promote the advancement of instrumental music education in Eastern Tennessee, and to encourage music activities in schools in Eastern Tennessee. 

All East is composed of four bands, two for 9th and 10th grade, and two for 11th and 12th. To make it into the bands, students have to learn a prepared piece, sight read, and play different scales for their audition. Each band only takes a limited amount of students on each instrument and students have to compete for a spot in one of the bands against every auditioning student from the eastern time zone of Tennessee. If students make it into one of the bands, they will travel to Gatlinburg the first weekend of February for All East. From there, they will have rehearsal on Thursday night, all day Friday, and Saturday morning, and finally have their concert on Saturday night. 

This year, seven Karns students were able to travel to Gatlinburg to participate in All East. For the students who made it, band director Jimbo Crawford said, “It’s not easy to get into. I had five for the band and two for the orchestra. I’m really proud of them. I think it was pretty good odds to get seven students in there.” 

The seven Karns students who attended All East for band this year were Noah Kelley, Emma Boice, Breton Stanley, Lexi Fuggat, and Josh Layton, and the students who attended for orchestra were Kara McNutt and Madeline Kasfang. For most of them it was their first year, but for a select few, it was their third and fourth time going. 

Noah Kelley, who has attended All East four times, says this on his experiences with All East, “Going to honor bands and clinics is very refreshing compared to what we do everyday in the Karns band. It’s a much more professional environment and atmosphere because a) you’re sitting next to people you don’t know, so you’re not goofing off and b) everyone sitting in that room are some of the best kids in the region and in the state and so you get to make really good music.” Noah is the only Karns band student who has been to All East all four years and he credits part of the reason he loves being in band is because of the experiences he has had at All East. 

Another senior who went to All East this year was Breton Stanley. This was his first year at All East and he is thankful for all he was able to learn from the experience. “When you’re surrounded by good musicians you learn a lot from each other. It was really nice to mix things with what I already knew and learn new things from everyone there.” 

Along with Noah and Breton, there were two other seniors who made it to All East, Emma and Kara. The only freshman to make it was Josh Layton, the only sophomore was Madeline Kasfang, and the only junior was Lexi Fuggat, who shared this on her experience at All East, “It was really nice to be around such a big group of people who are passionate about band and who have the potential to be great. It’s really inspiring watching these people who are so talented. I was really honored to be there and learn more about music.” 

All East has been an incredible learning experience for these students, as well as any other student who is invited to play. These seven Karns students have taken great honor in being asked to be in the All East bands and each of them will use what they have learned and experienced at All East to keep working hard and becoming better musicians.