Three Spring ISD students representing the campus music programs at Dekaney High School and Spring High School were selected as 2020-21 All-State Musicians by the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). The group, who went through a virtual audition process this year due to COVID-19, included Dekaney’s first-ever choir student to be selected for All-State, junior Teon Golden.
In addition to Golden from Dekaney High School, who was selected for the Bass 2 section of the All-State Mixed Choir, Spring High School saw one choir student and one band student chosen this year to represent the campus. Senior Christopher Aviles, a longtime member of both the school’s choir and its Lion Players Theatre Company, was selected for the Tenor 2 section of the All-State Mixed Choir. Spring High School senior Leonidas Velasquez, meanwhile, was the only baritone saxophone player chosen for this year’s 6A All-State Band from the four TMEA regions covering the entire Houston metropolitan area.
“The pandemic created challenges across Texas for performing arts programs and students, with so much lost learning time,” said Spring ISD Assistant Director of Performing and Visual Arts David Landgrebe. “We are so proud of these students and the extra effort they had to put in to accomplish this task in the middle of a public health crisis.”
Although the annual TMEA clinic and convention in San Antonio was canceled this year due to COVID-19, student musicians from across the state still competed for the chance to be named All-State musicians – the highest individual honor a Texas music student can receive. More than 70,000 students auditioned this year, with only the top 2.5% of those who initially auditioned ultimately receiving the honor.
This year’s Spring ISD All-State student musicians were also honored during the March meeting of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, where board members recognized each of them with “Points of Pride” awards from the district and offered their encouragement to keep practicing and growing as musicians despite the challenges the year has posed.
“To Teon, Chris and Leo, you’re outstanding gentlemen who are truly making Spring ISD proud,” said Spring ISD Board President Rhonda Newhouse.
Trustee Winford Adams Jr. also congratulated the three, adding his praises also for their teachers and all of the district’s performing and visual arts faculty for supporting students both before and during the pandemic.
“I want to just give a really big shout-out to their music teachers,” Adams said. “You all are doing phenomenal work. Thank you so much for what you do, and congratulations.”
The competitive All-State process begins throughout the state in auditions hosted by 33 TMEA Regions. Individual student musicians perform selected music for review by a panel of judges, who rank each instrument or voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete against musicians from surrounding areas in eight TMEA Area competitions. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group.
“While these students normally would get to go to San Antonio and participate in all of those normal things that an All-Stater gets to do, this was not a normal year,” Landgrebe said during his remarks at the board meeting. “The journey of earning a seat was the reward this year, and these students showed so much tenacity navigating the virtual platform of these auditions.”
While this year’s TMEA All-State students were not able to travel to San Antonio to perform with their respective ensembles, TMEA is currently working on plans to provide an All-State experience for the qualifying musicians at a later date.