Four SHS students chosen for IMEA Honor Band


While the Seymour High School band has racked up numerous honors since Kevin Cottrill took over as director 19 years ago, the program will experience a first this weekend.

Four students — seniors Harrison Cottrill, Justin Jones and Chandler Skinner and junior William Rodenbeck — will all be a part of the Indiana Music Education Association Honor Band concert Saturday at Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne.

The band is an honors ensemble that performs annually at the association’s professional development conference. It is comprised of high school students from across the state who are selected from a pool of nominations sent in by IMEA member band directors.

The performing ensemble works with a top clinician from around the country and gives students an opportunity to play with other students from throughout the state.

While Cottrill has had students play with the band in the past, he said it’s the first time he is sending four. Schools are only allowed to nominate four students each year for the event.

“It’s a pretty prestigious honor to get four students in,” Cottrill said. “It’s our highest-level juniors and seniors. I will put the feelers out to the kids and ask who is interested every year. Usually, you have kids that are motivated and driven that are interested, and usually, they are all-region or all-district-type students.”

To be eligible to apply, students must have competed in the district’s solo ensemble contest and state solo ensemble contest and earned a gold medal at the state level.

Selection also looks at a student’s previous participation in IMEA Honor Band or other state honor bands and if the student privately studies their instrument.

Harrison Cottrill and Rodenbeck make up two of eight french horn players, Jones is one of nine percussionists and Skinner is one of two to make it for the oboe.

The students arrived Thursday in Fort Wayne and will rehearse again today and Saturday before the concert.

“I’m glad I’m able to go. I’ve worked really hard to improve myself,” Rodenbeck said. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to go and meet new people. I have been playing the french horn for about five years. I just love the wide variety of types of music I can play with it. It’s a lot of fun for me.”

Jones said he’s honored to have been chosen.

“It means quite a bit,” he said. “I get to go up and show off my talents while representing the school. I think it’s a big event because there are people from all across the state. There will be a lot of kids there that are really good at what they do.”

Skinner said she has been playing the oboe for seven years and loves the uniqueness of the instrument.

“It’s going to be really interesting,” she said. “It will be nice to have people that I know there. I have been to other things where there hasn’t been anyone from my school there, and it’s kind of uncomfortable.”

Kevin Cottrill said all three seniors plan to stay involved in music in college, and it’s special for him to have his son, Harrison, as a part of the group.

Dr. Emily Threinen, director of bands and associate professor of music from the University of Minnesota, will conduct the concert, which will start at 2:30 p.m. and is free to the public.

”I’m excited about playing for another conductor,” Harrison Cottrill said. “I’ve had to watch my dad for several years. He does a great job, but working with someone different is always great.”

The program will be Flourish For Wind Band, Illumination, Once Upon A Time, Florentiner March and Variations On A Korean Folk Song.

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