Carlos Balandran qualified for the Class 5A State Band for the second consecutive year, and this year, he actually got to play in the concert.
Last year, the Texas Music Educators Association’s Annual Convention was cancelled because of COVID, as were the All-State Band and Choir performances. But this year they were back on, and Carlos once again earned a spot.
The Wylie senior traveled to San Antonio in February for four days of rehearsals that culminated in the annual concert.
“It was a lot of fun once I got used to how packed each day was,” he said. “It was a lot more overwhelming than I thought it was going to be. The schedule was very difficult because they wanted us to practice so much.”
The annual TMEA Convention draws 25,000 or more music teachers and students to downtown San Antonio each year, and Carlos said he found it a little stressful navigating the crowds. Also, the band practiced eight or more hours each day.
But playing with the top students in the state was worth the stress, he said.
“They were all very, very good,” he said. “It was nice to go and hear so many players who were really, really good. The material was much more difficult than what I am used to, and there was a lot more musical maturity. It was a good challenge.”
Carlos earned his trip to state on the tenor trombone. He has tried out on both the bass and tenor in the past, but focused on the tenor this year. He also made the Area Jazz Band.
While he was at the TMEA convention, Carlos was able to stop by the Texas Tech band booth and talk to a representative. He plans to try out for the Texas Tech concert band this summer prior to the start of his freshman year. He plans to major in chemistry at Tech and go into pharmacy. He decided not to do the marching band in college because of the immense time commitment.
“Having picked a STEM major, I know I am already going to be pressed for time,” he said.
Getting to play in the All-State Band was a great way to cap off his senior year at Wylie.
“I had a lot of fun in the band,” he said. “There’s no part of me that regrets working hard and going. It’s just something that not many people get to experience. Even if I didn’t like it, I would have wanted to experience it.”