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11 students earn elite honor of All-State Musician

Ector County ISD is proud to announce 11 students have earned the prestigious title of Texas All-State Musician from the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). This honor follows a rigorous series of regional and area auditions that begins with more than 70,000 high school students, and ends with only about 2% of those students being selected as All-State. They qualify to perform in one of 18 All-State ensembles in band, orchestra and vocal divisions.


“To be an All-State Musician means that you individually – these students – are the best, individually, in the State of Texas. So, it’s an elite honor,” said ECISD Executive Director of Fine Arts Aaron Hawley. “And they’ll be considered All-State Musicians for the rest of their life.”


The TMEA All-State members for 2023 are:


Kaleb Burton (11), Tenor 2 – PHS Choir


Kendra Burton (12), Soprano 1 – PHS Choir, Outstanding Performer at UIL State Solo & Ensemble 2022


Justus Davis (11), Tenor 1 – OHS Choir *not pictured in the group photo


Caitlin Fitzgerald (12), Soprano 2 – OHS Choir, 3-time TMEA All-State Musician


Elijah Keast (11), Bass 1 – PHS Choir


Jenesis Paget (10), Alto 2 – PHS Choir


Jaizaya Parrish (12), Alto 2 – PHS Choir


Shaun Price (11), Horn – PHS Band, 3-time TMEA All-State Musician


Caidence Searcy (10), Alto 1 – PHS Choir


Mason Simmons (12), Tenor 1 – PHS Choir


Cade Woolf (11), Eb Clarinet – PHS Band


OHS senior Caitlin Fitzgerald is one of three students to earn the All-State Musician honor for the third time, a remarkable accomplishment. While every year is exciting and a challenge unto itself, she says the experience helped her.


“I was definitely more confident, and I had more faith in my abilities, so it didn’t make it easier, but it felt not as stressful, I think,” she said. “I’ve learned to take things that I mess up on – take my mistakes – and find a way to turn them into strengths. Things I’ve done wrong in the past couple of years, I used them this year to learn and get better and to make it again.”


A life lesson forged through diligence and hard work. Practice. Rehearse. Perform. Repeat.


Seven of this year’s elite performers are from the Permian High School Choir. Director Laurie Wash acknowledges the role she plays as a teacher to keep students organized and motivated, but says the real key to achieving an accolade like All-State Musician ultimately comes down to the student’s diligence and hard work.


“[It takes] a lot of rehearsal time to find those intricacies in their voices that make them special so that they will stand out in a sea of children that the judges are hearing,” she said. “Everyone of us is gifted with something that makes our voices or our particular instrument special. It’s finding that and trying to bring that out that’s a part of that process.”


“We highly emphasize this aspect of the program because it’s your individual ability,” Hawley said of having students participate in the All-State audition process. “The more that we encourage them to practice and develop their own skills, that pays off when you get together as an ensemble.”


“Diligence and hard work,” added Wash. “It’s one thing to be talented but it’s another to have the drive to keep…themselves moving.”


10 of the students around a piano