Forty-five very gifted members of the Denison High School Band earned a record 57 medals at the UIL Region 25 Solo and Ensemble Contest at Plano East High School on February 22nd. The great majority of those musicians also earned the judges’ highest ratings, qualifying them to compete at the prestigious State Solo and Ensemble Contest in Austin in May.

Forty-five very gifted members of the Denison High School Band earned a record 57 medals at the UIL Region 25 Solo and Ensemble Contest at Plano East High School on February 22nd. The great majority of those musicians also earned the judges’ highest ratings, qualifying them to compete at the prestigious State Solo and Ensemble Contest in Austin in May.


"This is an incredible achievement for these students considering that participation in this contest is completely voluntary," said Assistant Band Director Derek Wheeler. "They practice before and after school for long, hard hours, and they also give up one of their precious Saturdays to compete at this level. The talent, maturity and dedication displayed by these musicians is truly exceptional."


Paul Onspaugh, DHS Director of Instrumental Music, also attributes the high level of excellence to private lessons provided through scholarships from the Thelma Braun Foundation. "Several years ago, the Braun Foundation began awarding instrumental music scholarships for private lessons for students with the desire to improve their talents but without the means to pay for it. The improvements have been amazing, both in terms of our students’ abilities and talents as well as their high performance levels at area and state contests. We’re all very proud of these kids and thankful for the Braun Foundation support."


Students who earned medals in solo competition are: Conner Reed, Kayla Pruitt-Russell, Annie Longoria, Bree Schell, Jarod Letz, Matthew Eppler, Casey Harty, Trevor Walker, Flor Ortiz, Megan Doyle, Joselle Mallillin, Grace Hall, Aileen Sanchez, Andrew Wheeler, Jonathan Brandt, Ali Javid and Ryan Kunkel.


Students who earned medals in solo competition and also qualified for the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest include Matthew Bernier, Bryan Batts, J.C. Ivers, Lee Adams, Haley Dunn, Jacob Deen, Josh Brown, David Mast, Juan Rangel, Laura Muller, Sydney Parks, Audrey Altnether and Hannah Schneider.


Ensemble musicians who received a medal and qualified for the State Contest include: the Clarinet Trio of Grace Hall, Brittany Armstrong and Joselle Mallillin; the Saxophone Quartet of Matthew Bernier, Andrew Wheeler, Lucy Harbin and Shelby Via; the Clarinet Quartet of Megan Doyle, Abby Perschall, Aileen Sanchez and Kristina Vanderlei; the Percussion Quartet of Bryan Batts, J.C. Ivers, David Mast and Juan Rangel; the Percussion Ensemble of Joshua Brown, Tannim Creech, J.T. Ivers, Laura Muller, Syndey Parks, Hannah Schneider, Casey Harty and Haley Dunn; and the Flute Quartet of Mattie Barrera, Christina Hedrick, Flor Ortiz and Taylor Schmitz.