They’ve got the beat: More local students qualifying for All-State

HARLINGEN — The process of elimination began in October.

It concluded this month with seven students from Harlingen being selected for the Texas All-State Band. They’ll play with the best of the best Feb. 17 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.

“It’s hard to put into words we were so excited that they reached that level,” said Shane Shinsato, band director at Harlingen High School South.

Three students from South made the cut along with four others from Harlingen High School.

The students began competing first at the district level, then region and area levels in November.

“It starts off with about 70,000 students from all around the state,” said Maria Coronado, band director at HHS.

“They select just under 1,800,” she said. “So out of that 70,000, only 1,780 students are selected to be part of the organization. They have to learn three assigned etudes, musical songs, and they get the music in early August.”

Ronnie Rios, director of music for the district, is especially jubilant because several orchestra and choir students also made All-State after going through a similar process.

“There’s eleven students total,” he said. “I’m very pleased because we had almost 40 percent more than last year. We had had eight last year.”

Shinsato commended his students for their dedication.

“They practiced diligently throughout the semester and took advantage of private lessons that our directors offered even during the holidays,” he said. “They’re just overall outstanding players on each of their respective instruments. They play at a college level.”