HHS senior Devon Sawyer is surrounded by all of the instruments he has played during the past year with the Tiber Pride Band. He has been named to the Missouri All-State Band for the second year in a row. Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

A member of the Houston High School Tiger Pride Band has been named to the Missouri All-State Band for the second straight year: Senior Devon Sawyer.

During the past year, Sawyer has played eight different instruments with the HHS band. He has been accepted to Yale University with a full-ride academic scholarship, and hopes to continue playing while he pursues a degree in astrophysics.

Last year, Sawyer made the All-State Band on contralto clarinet and the All-State Jazz Band on baritone saxophone. He has earned first chair in every one of his auditions since his junior year.

Under the direction of Houston Schools band director Sam Van Dielen, the HHS band also has two other students who made the All-District Band: Senior Austin Blankenship and junior Hunter Swingle. The district ensemble is a competitive group comprised of the finest band members in the region. The District Band will perform in January at Parkview High School in Springfield.

In addition, the HHS Band had numerous students make the University of Missouri – Kansas City Honor Band (which will perform at the UMKC campus in January). Sawyer, Blankenship and Swingle were included, along with seniors James Talavera and Nick Washko, junior Aubrey Crockett, sophomores Levi McConnell and Dezy Owens, and 8th-grader Andrew Rife.

After preparing their materials, each auditioned online with UMKC faculty and graduate students.

HHS Tiger Pride Band members will soon audition for the South Central Association All-Conference Band.

Directed by Houston Schools band director Sam Van Dielen, the HHS Tiger Pride Pep Band performs during a girls basketball game Monday in the new gym. DOUG DAVISON | HOUSTON HERALD

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