Verdigris High School Seniors Kyle Broadbooks and Tristen Bailey were recently accepted as members of the All State Jazz Band.
Broadbooks was selected for first chair drums and Bailey was chosen for fourth chair trumpet.
Despite the competition being tight, with hundreds of students statewide competing for a handful of seats, Broadbooks and Bailey are performing with the All State Band for their third and second time, respectively.
“Everyone auditions and the best out of the whole state are put in this band together,” Broadbooks said.
They will have one weekend in January to meet, practice together and then perform for state officials, college recruiters and jazz aficionados.
This should come as no surprise considering the Verdigris High School Band’s impressive history.
Verdigris Public Schools Band Director Euell Hanna, who has led the program for more than 30 years, said “We are kind of legendary. We have won more state jazz band competitions than anybody else, 26.”
Broadbooks was exposed to music at a young age, playing rock ballads with his dad.
“As I grew I started to find my own niche with music,” Broadbooks said. “For me music is kind of like my escape from everything. It’s what I do best, so over time I’ve grown with it.”
Broadbanks said that, as a drummer, jazz is better than rock because of the diversity.
Bailey didn’t get into music until he moved to Verdigris in the fifth grade.
“Mr. Hanna is the person who got me involved,” Bailey said. “He gave me something that I could be good at as opposed to academics.”
Bailey specializes in jazz because, “I like the art of improvisation,” he said.
“Jazz is alive,” Hanna said, “We’re going to make it to another millennium with jazz players all over the place. It’s going to be good.”
Both young men plan to study music in college next year.
“All of the band is great, but these two guys put in special effort,” Hanna said. “I’m very, very proud of them.”