This year two Riverbank High School students, sophomore Jenise Perryman and senior Clayton Wallen, will represent the high school in the Stanislaus County Honor Band. Both students had to go through the audition process to make the band.
Perryman will hold the fourth chair trombone position and Wallen will be the third chair percussionist. This is Perryman’s second year making the honor band and this is Wallen’s first year.
RHS Band Director Joey Aguilar said he is extremely proud of these two students and believes this will be a very good experience for them both.
“I think it is fantastic that we had two students make it this year,” said Aguilar. “We had two students make it last year as well. I was kind of hoping we would get more but two is still good. Every year the (RHS) band has grown. It has taken awhile but this year it definitely had a huge impact because the band literally doubled in size this year compared to last year’s group.”
The honor band consists of approximately 60 to 80 students from all different schools throughout Stanislaus County and features the ‘best of the best’ musicians in the area, according to Aguilar.
“I feel a little bit better; not as nervous as last year since this is my second year and I feel like it helped me improve as a trombone player because instead of getting sixth chair last year I am fourth chair this year of a small amount of trombones,” stated Perryman. “So I am kind of happy about that but I wish I could practice more because practice helps.”
“Honor band is fun and interesting,” said Wallen. “I am just hoping that I can collaborate with them, learn some things, teach them some things and just get that experience.”
Band students that audition for the honor band must take it upon themselves to practice the music given and may attain assistance if needed from the band director.
With a love for music, Perryman began her musical training playing the saxophone in seventh grade and then switched to trombone in eighth grade and is currently the RHS band tuba player.
At five years old, Wallen picked up some drumsticks and his interest in the drums was established, which led his parents to purchase a drum set for him. He started playing drums in school when he was 10-years-old and has been playing drums and percussion all four years at RHS.
“The way I word it to them is that it is an opportunity for them to play with the best musicians that are in their age group,” added Aguilar. “If you want to get that experience of not only playing with a large band but to be able to play with the best people in this area, then this is something that you guys should try to strive for. Not to mention, it helps out with their college résumé and it helps out with scholarships, too.”
According to Perryman, being part of the honor band helped her by being with others that play the same instrument and sharing things they have learned. The honor band students practice individually for the most part and also have some scheduled practices together at a specified school site.
“I am terrible at sight reading so being with other trombone players, since RHS doesn’t have other trombone players, being with other trombone players helps me so I can learn different stuff from them and it helps me sight read better because all we do is sight read, we don’t listen to it beforehand,” added Perryman.
“I thought it would be interesting to get to meet more people who like me have been playing drums for years,” added Wallen. “Being in band has been a great experience for me.”
The Stanislaus County Honor Band will perform on Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Modesto Junior College Auditorium; the public is encouraged to attend.