LHHS Band students take state honors

From left are Josh Reus, Joe Lingren, Mallory Dobias, Dray Luckadoo, Clayton Luckadoo, Tanner O’Dell. The students took State honors in Waco last Saturday. (Photo by Shelly Wilkison)

Five members of the Liberty Hill High School Band recently placed in the top tier of student musicians from across Texas earning them the distinction of performing next month at the Texas Music Educators Association convention.

Among the recognized musicians are Joe Lingren and Josh Reus, both of whom were named First Chair in percussion and oboe, respectively.

Clayton Luckadoo made Second Chair in clarinet, Mallory Dobias made Third Chair in French horn and Tanner O’Dell made Fifth Chair in clarinet.

The five students, who competed Saturday at Waco Robinson High School, will be joined at the February concert by Dray Luckadoo, who was named in the fall to the All-State Jazz Band. Dray Luckadoo plays alto saxophone.

This marks the first year the LHHS  Band has sent so many students to State, said Band Director John Perrin, who was extremely proud of his students’ performances.

“This year has been amazing,” he said. “We have been working here to set a standard. This is how we do things here (in Liberty Hill), and this is the level of achievement we work toward.

“Not every person will make area and can go to state, but we have raised the level,” he said, adding that all students are working toward that personal goal.

In the fall, dozens of local band students were named to the Region Band. From there, the top students were selected to compete at Area among other Class 3-A schools.

Perrin explained that the students who earned the State distinction last week competed against the top 3A band students from five areas of Texas.

In the case of Lingren, who was named First Chair Percussion, Perrin said the competition was especially difficult.

“There were 70 drummers from our region, and there are 20 regions in the state. On the average, 1,000 drummers auditioned,” Perrin said.

After the region competition, Lingren competed against percussionists from five areas to be chosen First Chair.

“Joe was number one of the top five (drummers) in the state,” Perrin said.

Last school year, Liberty Hill’s Garret Maples won State in percussion. Maples was the only local student who advanced to State.

In the fall, the Panther Marching Band earned high accolades for its marching show “To Sleep Per Chance to Dream.” The 120-member band placed six among 28 bands at UIL Area marching competition — making history for the LHHS band program. The band was one place away from qualifying for the State contest in 3A.

With the program’s success comes a growth in enrollment. In December, school trustees voted to create an additional position for a band director. Administrators are hoping to fill the position, which will be a beginning band director at Liberty Hill Intermediate School, by the start of school in August. The district currently has three band directors who work together instructing all levels at the Intermediate campus, Liberty Hill Junior High and the high school.