Every year, all band students from the northeast Missouri area get the opportunity to audition for a seat in the NEMO All-District and Honorable Mention bands. The honor of being selected for such a position is magnified that much more when it is accomplished twice in a student’s first two years of high school.
This was exactly the case of sophomore Courtney Burbridge. The second-year BGHS band member has been selected for the district’s honorable mention back for the second year in a row, a feat not easily accomplished by someone of her age.
“We’re talking all of the schools in the Northeastern part of Missouri, which could be upwards of 50 (or more),” said band director Jim Hawkins.
The musicians audition in the fall semester, and then perform a concert at the start of the spring semester.
The judging panel for tryouts consists of band directors from the schools.
The audition process usually takes the whole day; auditions are done in the morning, and then there’s an afternoon practice that usually takes a couple of hours.
Hawkins explained that the day of the concert is also an all-day process, because each band has to rehearse with the selected clinicians for the day.
“Each band has anywhere from 70 to 90 players in them, which means over 300 kids auditioned for placement this year,” Hawkins added.
Burbridge told the Times that the experience is a great one, and it’s an honor to be able to play with some of the best high school musicians in the state.
The clarinet player said she plans to attend Truman State University following graduation and pursue music. She is the daughter of Steve and Lori Burbridge, of Bowling Green.