The Arizona elementary and junior high all-state band festival finished up a couple of hours ago. My daughter, Audrey, qualified for the second year in a row. Once again, they held it in Gilbert at Higley High School. It has to be a good 40 miles from the house. Last year, they bussed the elementary kids in the morning. This year, I had to drive--twice. With construction on Loop 101, they reduced the southbound side to one lane. That added some time to the commute.
This is the first year they held an all-state event for the seventh-graders, but they had the sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders all on the same day with a joint concert.
Obviously, the all-state bands sound better than the average single-school band. the sixth-graders had a bit of trouble keeping together (they got as much a 4 measures apart at one point). Last year's sixth-grade band sounded a little better.
Both the seventh and eighth grade bands sounded great. The venue is nice, even if very far for most of the state's population. We ordered the CD of the performance, in part because we don't know of we'll go to another all-state band festival. Practice waxes and wanes with the kids' whims. Flute is rarely practiced. Trumpet not at all. Drums are practiced, but we are still too new at that instrument to be good enough yet.