By Heather Berry
Weaverville – Singled out in the state’s top five for their individual instruments, trumpet player David Peebles and clarinet player Kayla Guillians, both members of the North Buncombe High School Band, have been invited to the All-State Orchestra Competition, beginning Nov. 5 in Winston-Salem. The event is hosted annually by the North Carolina Music Educators Association. For Peebles, the invitation means he has now been chosen for every All-State competition ensemble over his musical career.
“David has made all the All-State ensembles now including: jazz, band, and orchestra,” said North Buncombe High School Band Director Andrew Shelton. “He is the first person at North Buncombe, who has made all the All-State ensembles,” he said.
Shelton said a part of his job is pushing talented young musicians toward auditions like All-State. “I give them the opportunity, help them prepare and, a lot of times, it’s just a matter of giving them the idea and the opportunity,” said Shelton.
In the case of Guillians and Peebles, Shelton’s support and encouragement opened the door to a rare experience.
“We had to audition for the state’s western region,” explained Guillians. “There’s also an eastern region audition, and they pick the top musicians from each region and bring them all together for All-State.” Selected musicians are asked to play as an ensemble at the competition, which offers its own set of challenges. Though given the music ahead of the competition, the selected high school musicians usually have only a few days to learn how to play together.
“It’s really fun,” said Peebles. “We have between four and six two-hour rehearsals in total,” he said. The rehearsals are held Friday and Saturday, with the performance scheduled for Sunday. According to Peebles, part of the fun is playing with the most talented musicians across the state.
“You meet new people and catch up with people you have met at other competitions,” said Guillians.
Both musicians have a lengthy and impressive musical resume. Guillians was chosen last year for the All-National competition, along with several previous trips to other All-State competitions. She was chosen in the eighth grade for her first All-State competition. Peebles is making his second trip to All-State Orchestra, but he has been selected four previous times for the All-State Concert Band.
Guillians said her past visits to the All-State competition have given her confidence for this year’s event. “I feel good,” she said. “I’m definitely not nearly as intimidated as I used to be. I used to go in feeling so scared, but not anymore.”
Guillians, a senior, is a member of the North Buncombe High School Marching Band and the schools’ wind ensemble. Peebles, a junior, is a member of the marching band, wind ensemble, jazz band, jazz combo, brass quintet, trumpet choir, in addition to playing for the Asheville Youth Orchestra.