Band Member Defies Odds as a Freshmen



Picture of Phoenix Alcera playing the tenor saxophone in band class


In his first year as a high school student, band member Phoenix Alcera, defies odds at both the freshmen and all-region tryouts; placing higher than all other competition. While many students in the Klein Band tried out for the region band; Alcera was the only student to place first at the all-region tryouts; amongst students from all grade levels and first at the all freshmen region; amongst only freshmen. 


“It was exciting, and I was surprised,” Alcera said. “I thought I did well in the room, but I didn’t think I would make the first chair. I had a feeling I would make it, but I didn’t think I would get that high.”


Tryouts for the all-region band are available for all band students to participate in each year. Students who tryout play three musical compositions; their chromatic scale (playing their lowest note to the highest note while playing all notes in between); and playing a few of the 12 major scales. Students earn their rankings predicated on how well they perform on all of them.


“I listened to a lot of professional recordings on YouTube, but it was mostly self-practice,” Alcera said. “Of course, I wanted to make it; but it was just mainly having fun. I did doubt myself a lot before it because it stressed me out a little bit; I didn’t let that bother me.”


The band directors always encourage students to audition for the region band. It doesn’t matter what grade students are in or what band they are in. The goal is to grow as musicians.  


“We definitely encourage as many students as we can,” Assistant Band Director Kelsey Blanscet said. “The process of preparing music to compete at the regional level pushes you as an individual. Not only with learning difficult rhythms; but also honing and refining your skills.”


Blanscet is a saxophone player as well. Before becoming an assistant band director; she was a member of the University of Texas saxophone ensemble for five years. She continues to play in her spare time and helps students in the Klein High School band prepare for region auditions and grow as musicians in general.


“Phoenix has a strong desire and strives to be a better player and play music,” Blanscet said. “After hearing what the other judges in the room had to say about his playing; I was very confident that he could go pretty far.”


There are two phases when auditioning for the all-region band. If one places high enough in the first phase; you move on to phase two. After qualifying for phase two; Alcera tried out the next day and earned the first chair once again. He qualified for the all-area band auditions and placed second. Alcera was one spot off from making state but still keeps his head up. He now prepares for the KISD solo and ensemble contest; he has a good chance of earning his lettermen jacket this year.


“Music is based on what you like,” Alcera said. “I don’t like to compare myself and say that I’m better than others. You can’t say that you’re better than someone if you placed higher than them in a classical setting; they can be better than you in a jazz setting.”