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Anthony Wayne Local School District News Article

AWHS Senior Selected for All-Ohio Honors Band

lucas willisAnthony Wayne High School senior and eight-year band member Lucas Willis was selected to perform with other elite musicians from across the state in the OMEA All-State Honors Band. The ensemble performed under the direction of T. André Feagen at the Union Station Ballroom at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Friday, Feb. 2.

Lucas's experience in playing the alto and tenor saxophone for the AWHS Symphonic Winds Ensemble, Generals Staff Jazz Band, Royal Blue Jazz Band and AW Marching Generals helped him earn 6th chair in the saxophone section for the event.

All-State Band participants are chosen by audition. Applicants must submit recordings of themselves performing a Class A solo and two etudes selected by OMEA. Luke said he was inspired to try out by his dad, who performed with the Kentucky All-State Band in high school.

The selected musicians then got a crash course in the pieces they would perform, practicing for seven to nine hours each day for the three days leading up to the event. The ensemble performed Nobles of the Mystic Shrine by John Philip Sousa, American Hymnsong Suite by Duane S. Milburn, Fields of Gold by Julie Giroux, and Aurora Awakes by John Mackey. 

“My favorite was American Hymnsong Suite because it was beautiful, yet challenging," Lucas said. "I really enjoy OMEA events because they allow me to work with new directors with different perspectives and ideas that make me a better player.”

all state medal

AWHS Director of Bands, Mr. Roy Young, said Lucas is one of 14 students from Anthony Wayne who were selected for the All-State Band over the last 16 years. 

“It's always a great experience to play with other students from different schools who share your interest in playing at a very high level,” said Mr. Roy Young, Director of Bands at Anthony Wayne High School. “Luke has been a strong presence in that (saxophone) section and always performs at a very high level of accomplishment. I think that the example he sets will encourage others to try out for All-State Band in the future.”

Lucas said that he plans to use the experience to develop himself as a musician and intends to play in ensembles in college while pursuing a degree in actuarial science or data science.

“I encourage other players with similar aspirations to stay disciplined in their practice and not to settle,” he said. “It takes willpower to achieve your goals no matter their magnitude.”

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