In a good year, Big Spring High School places one or two students in the all-state band.
What do you say about this year, then?
Four Steer Band members — a number that is a modern record, to say the least — have been selected to the Class 3A and Below All-State Band.
“That's the most we've had since I've been here,” said BSHS Band Director Rocky Harris, who has led the program for almost 15 years. “And it may be the most we've ever had.”
Junior oboe player Catherine Harris, sophomore trombonist Nick Conner, junior baritone player Kenan Lewis and senior tuba player Chris Nunez were named to the all-state band, which will perform at the Texas Music Educators Association state convention next month in San Antonio.
“They're very talented and a joy to work with,” Rocky Harris said of the group. “You combine talent, a good attitude and the willingness to work hard, that makes for some good kids.”
He has a personal connection with one of the honorees — Catherine is his daughter.
“To see my dad's reaction when I made all-state was great,” she said. “He's my biggest mentor and he said he was very proud of me.”
For Catherine, making the all-state band was also a matter of some sweet revenge.
“There was a lot of pressure,” she said. “They only take one oboe player from this area, and I was selected over the guy who beat me out last year.”
Conner is getting to be an old hand at this all-state band thing — this is the second straight year for him to be selected. That doesn't mean, however, that making the group was any easier the second time around.
“If anything, it was more difficult this time,” he said. “I already knew the competition I'd face, so I knew I had to work even harder this year to make all-state.”
And earning the honor is definitely not getting boring, he added.
“I had the same reaction, pretty much,” Conner said. “It was very, very exciting.”
Lewis said his selection came as a very nice surprise.
“I really didn't feel good about my tryout,” he said. “You could hear the other (students) as they performed … and they were pretty good. I was really excited when I learned that I had made it.”
Nunez pulls extra-curricular double duty at BSHS — aside from performing in the band, he also was a key member of this year's football team.
“You definitely have to manage your time,” he said of his various commitments. “It can get pretty tough. You just have to make sure you dedicate the time you need for certain things.”
Being named to the all-state band was something of a shock, he recalled.
“I didn't even come close to area tryouts last year, so this year was kind of a surprise,” Nunez said. “I was sitting at a table after my tryout and (Conner) came over and tackled me when he found out. It was a pretty good feeling.”