Best of the band

Nick Conner continued a family tradition.Sebastian Hernandez started one of his own.Motivated in different ways, both Big Spring High School Band members overcame tough competition and admitted cases of nerves to be named to the Association of Texas Small School Bands Class 3A All-State Band.Hernandez, a senior percussionist, and Conner, a freshman trombonist, will perform with the Texas All-State Band at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as part of the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio Feb. 11.Both qualified for the all-state band following tryouts at Lubbock Cooper High School this past weekend.“Both of these kids, in my opinion, are at the top in their respective sections,” BSHS Band Director Rocky Harris said. “Sebastian placed first at regional and area tryouts. Nick was first at regionals and third at area, but in my opinion, he was first.”Although they’d had a few days to absorb the news, Hernandez and Conner both admit the feat hasn’t quite sunk in, yet.“I was excited, shocked,” Hernandez said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to think. I thought I might have had a shot (at making the all-state band) but I was sill very nervous.”Conner was battling a case of nerves, also, but for a different reason.“It was pretty crazy,” Conner admitted. “I knew the pressure was on me to make all-state as a freshman — my dad did the same thing when he was in high school — so it felt great that I was able to continue the family tradition.”As might be expected, the level of competition at tryouts was high, they said.“I didn’t go to area tryouts last year, so I really didn’t know any of the people I was going up against,” Hernandez said. “Then, when I saw them, I was intimidated by their play — they were good.”“Most of the people there were pretty good,” Conner said. “So, the pressure was on; I knew I’d have to work really hard to succeed.”Conner and Hernandez started their music career for different reasons.“I wasn’t very athletic, so I focused on music and academics,” Hernandez said. “I always liked music … as the years went by, I learned more and more, and I wanted to stand out, not just be average.”Despite having an all-state musician as a father, Conner said he never felt pressured to take up the trombone.“My father gave me some of his thoughts about it … but I wasn’t forced to play trombone, I just liked it,” he said.Contact Staff Writer Steve Reagan at 263-7331 ext. 235 or by e-mail at