Two students selected for All-State festival

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL

Two Washington High School students were selected to play in the All-State festival next month.

George Guerra, son of Lorena and Luis Guerra Sr., who is a senior at the school, was selected to play the bass trombone and Gwendolyn ?Gwen? Flannery, daughter of Ryan and Diana Flannery, a junior, was selected to play the oboe.

Flannery was chosen for the second time for the festival.

?Gwen is a very strong oboe player,? said Washington High School band director Don Hughes. ?She also has picked up tenor sax. She?s the lead in the jazz band. She plays tenor in marching band. For the jazz group, she?s jumped out and done quite a bit soloing for us.?

This will be Guerra?s first time playing at the musical festival.

?George ? he?s an all-around low brass guy,? Hughes said. ?He started out with tenor trombone and he picked up bass trombone for jazz band. He started playing tuba for the holiday concerts and actually started playing sousaphone this year (in marching band). We were in a tuba pinch. We had two brand-new tuba players and they needed some leadership out there, and he agreed to carry the third one and hold down the part.?

Guerra has also played in a couple of musicals with Hughes at the community theater and marched with the Colt Cadets this year.

?That was a new experience for him and he had a great time,? Hughes added.

They auditioned along with eight other WHS students Saturday, Oct. 22, at Washington High School.

?They had a minute to a minute and a half of a solo piece and that?s whatever the director chooses, so that?s different,? said Washington High School band director Don Hughes, ?and two college-level etudes, all of their major scales and their chromatic scales.?

At 5 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 22, the parts of the etudes the students were expected to play during the audition were released on the All-State website, he added.

Hughes said he was a little surprised that Guerra was selected for the music festival because he didn?t hear how prepared Guerra was for the audition.

?He did the whole thing on his own,? Hughes said. ?The first time I had heard him play was in the warm-up room before the audition.?

Hughes worked with Flannery through most of the first term this fall, he said.

?I knew she was sitting in pretty good shape,? Hughes added. ?I guess I sort of had figured she had gotten in last year, so her chances were pretty darn good.?

Hughes, Flannery and Guerra will leave for Ames Nov. 16, Hughes said. When they get to Ames, chair placement auditions will be held and sectionals and a brief rehearsal that night. On the 17th, an all-day rehearsal will be held. Then on the 18th a rehearsal will be held and then group pictures. The concert will be held that evening.