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Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio, Texas on 02/18/2013. Grace Huynh’s playing flute, second row, third chair from right end. List of the music: (1) The Star Spangled Banner – (2) Mvt 1 – (3) Mvt 2 – (4) Elegy for a Young American – (5) Insuperable – (6) Symphonic Dance – (7) Foundry.
Grace Christian Huynh
(Photo: In Band Uniform) My sophomore year was an exciting year. It came with many blessings, and I thank God for that. I have had achievements in band and in school that I’ve worked all school year for. However, I could not have done all that I did without God.
In my freshman year, I got a spot in the All-Region concert band. But this year, I made it through All-Region and the area competition, and I made it all the way to All-State! Let me paint you a picture: Ten thousand students, from all around the state, tried out and only 260 made it to All-State, including me and three other band mates from my school! I think it is pretty amazing that I was one of the 260 to move on to All-State, which is an advance level of high school band!
(Photo: All-State Band Patches) However, one can’t make it through without practicing. To make it to All-State, one has to know and play their scales and chromatic scale and play two etudes (or songs) which are difficult. One has to pass the first stage, which is All-Region to move on to the area competition. Then, if one passes the area competition, then that person can go on to All-State. One cannot make too many mistakes and would have to play expressively to place themselves apart from other players. The judges are behind a curtain and they rank us. The students that are ranked the highest in each group of instruments in the area competition will move on to All-State. I was so glad that we couldn’t see the judges. I probably would have been really nervous. Area competition is harder than the region competition. Everyone that moves on from region are higher level players, otherwise, they wouldn’t have gone on to area. So, it would have made sense to be intimidated, especially since some of the players receive private lessons; I don’t since we don’t have the money for that. Nonetheless, I did pretty well on my auditions because I knew God would be with me.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4: 13)
All-State’s a pretty big deal for young small school musicians in Texas and for the schools they represent. The three others that made it with me to All-State and I were recognized at a school-board meeting in May, 2013. Our achievement was on the newspapers earlier this year and we received certificates for our accomplishments. I thank God that He put in me a talent and ability so I can experience All-State and be able to improve myself. I still have a lot to learn and I still need to improve, but God set this up for me to be able to have an opportunity to do so later on this summer.
Four All-State Students and the Robinson School Board
This summer break, my family and I went to Canada for a mission trip. Before school ended, my band director had let me know about a band camp at Baylor. Baylor is one of the most well known university in Texas. The tuition of this university is very high but the campus is clean and it’s a Christian school. The band camp costs $505 for a student that wants to attend and dorm there. The cost covers a dorm room, tuition, food, and some activities at the camp. It includes a $100 down payment. I wanted to attend band camp this summer and my band director told me I could get a scholarship to go there since I made it to All-State. After talking with my parents about my discussion with my director, I had come to discover that band camp was the same week as our trip to Canada. I had to refuse going to camp. After that, I hadn’t thought much about band camp until the day before registration for the camp closed. That was because I was talking to my friend about wanting to go to band camp, and my friend texted me telling me about how the date for the deadline of registration was moved to the next day. At the same time, I found out that our trip to Canada was moved to the week after camp (for a reason that had nothing to do with band camp). My parents said that I could go as long as I could get the scholarship.
So I called my director to see if I could still get in with the scholarship. She said Baylor had one scholarship left and that they could accept my application. Can you imagine how happy I was? I gave my thanks to God immediately! Baylor sent me an email that told me what I needed to do, and as soon as I could, I turned in my forms for the scholarship and camp. I was accepted into the camp within a few days. All I needed to do was pack and prepare my audition music which was mostly two etudes and excerpts of music. I was very grateful to God that they were able to accept my applications last minute and that He gave me a chance to learn and improve my skills with a flute professor. I was also very thankful for my band director for take care of my band needs at such a last minute. She was patient with me since I asked a lot of questions!
So, the camp started around mid-June, 2013 and it was one of the hottest weeks I’ve experienced in Texas. The scholarship paid off $405 leaving the $100 down payment which I paid with the $100 gift from Mr. Doye Baker, our landlord. He read on the newspaper about how I was placed in the All-State band; when he came to have a hair cut at my mom’s shop, he called me out to congratulate me and gave me a reward. Everything was planned by God! I had to reside at Baylor because the scholarship covered the dorm cost. I haven’t been away from home for as long as a week, so my mom was a little concern about what could happen if I was away. She and I prayed that God would find me a kind Christian roommate and that I would be safe that week. So, on the first day of camp, my mom and I went to register myself into the dorms. We went up to my room and saw that my roommate and her mom were already in the dorm. The moms greeted each other and started to talk. It turns out, my roommate, Kathryn, and her mother, Mary, are both Christians. Thank God our prayers had been answered!
My mom handed Mary a business card, and just as my mom mentioned the name of her salon, “Three Sixteen” (named after John 3:16 in the Bible), Mary was anxious to share her testimony about her son.
When Mary was expecting, she had the idea of having her son born on March 16 (3/16). It was near time for her son to be born and the doctors said that perhaps the baby won’t be born on the day she wanted. She was very persistent though and prayed to God that her son would be born on that day. Surely enough, her son really was born on March 16! Just as his mother wanted, he is now a walking testimony! What seemed impossible really did come true because she put her faith in God. It was really exciting to listen to her tell that story.
As we were about to leave dorm to our auditions for band placements, my mom gave her some gospel CD’s and DVD’s and information about our websites: english.timhieutinlanh.net and grace-jay.net. After camp and our trip to Canada, we received a gift in the mail from Kathryn and her mom. In the envelope were cards for me and my mom and we received red and purple jeweled crosses. Purple is our favorite color and it’s the theme of my mom’s beauty salon, so it matched perfectly. We are really glad God provided us with good humored people that believe in Him.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Speaking of putting your faith in God, let us go back to before I went to All-State in San Antonio. I had become terrible sick with the flu. I had a high fever and felt just terrible. I had to skip four days of school! I was afraid of missing another day, since that would mean I would have to take my final exams at the end of the school year. I definitely did not want to do that, as no student would. The worse thing about it was that I was very ill at the worst time; coming up on the weekend was Solo & Ensemble.
State Solo & Ensemble Qualifiers
Solo & Ensemble is another band related competition. You don’t necessarily compete against other players, but the process is similar to that of All-State. You start out in the regional event and make your way to state. There is a judge to judge each performance, but they are not hidden. They listen and watch the students perform their solo and with their ensemble. I chose to do a solo and one ensemble. The judges will rank the performance on a scale of 1 to 4 with 1 being the best rank. What the judges did for us were writing down what they observed during our performance. They might write tips on what we could improve on the performance and they could compliment on something we had done well. If one is doing a solo and wishes to go on to state, they must memorize their solo. If one does not memorize the solo, they will not go on to state Solo & Ensemble. It’s not required to memorize the solo and go to state Solo & Ensemble to participate in the regional event. An ensemble does not need to memorize their music. In the region stage, in order to go on to state, the soloist that has memorized their piece or ensemble needs to make a 1 on their piece.
My Teacher & Flute Ensemble
In the days prior to the regional stage of Solo & Ensemble, I was absent from school and could not practice much on my flute due to my illness. It was so bad, I had considered not attending the event that upcoming weekend. I was still coughing and still had a fever. My mom and I prayed together that I may be able to go the next day and that I would be healed. I understood that if God didn’t make me feel better, it was a sign that He did not want me to go because He knows the best for me. Either way, I would not have been upset and I would just do what He wanted: to stay or to go. My mom told me to read some important scriptures from the Bible to give me more faith and strength, such as:
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.” (Job 13:13)
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)
With the Conductor
After we prayed, I actually felt well enough to practice for two hours that day. I didn’t feel tired like I usually felt. The next day, I woke up and I felt a lot better than the day before, although, I still coughed. I felt well enough to go and I made it to Solo & Ensemble.
When I got on the bus, some of my peers to surprised to see me since they had not seen me since earlier that week. Even the teachers were expecting not to see me that day. I thought it was funny that they were all surprised to see me there, but thanks to God’s work, I was able to have enough strength to go through the whole day. When I arrived at Solo & Ensemble, I prayed that when it came time for me, that I would do the best I could and that I wouldn’t be interrupted by my coughing.
“O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
So, later on that day, it was my turn to perform my solo which I had memorized. Throughout the whole performance, I did not cough once! I was so very grateful that I could make it through my performance and the very long day. I was very confident for my ensemble now that I got past the hardest part of my day. I received a 1 each on my solo and my ensemble at the competition and was able to go on to state Solo & Ensemble; and it was all glory to God.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
(Photo: Academic Blanket) That was a pretty great day for me, despite the fact that the day before I felt terrible. All my hard work in school was worth it. In February, all the people that made it All-State met in San Antonio for five days of rehearsals and performed a final concert. My parents were able to make it to the final concert and I had a great time in San Antonio!
And finally, to wrap up the whole school year, on awards night at school, I received awards such as having the highest grade in my Spanish class, being in the top Ten Percent in my class, received an academic blanket (only the top two people per class receive the blanket per year which is in total eight people per year. A student can only receive it once, so if the person already has one, the school goes to the next person. This is to reward the people that are ranked highest in their class), and presented with certificates as recognition for my hard work in band. I plan to do a lot better next year with God’s help to bring more glory to God.
I can’t wait for the 2013-2014 school year! Thank you for reading.
“Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalm 150:3-6)
Grace Christian Huynh
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