Carmel Valley Middle School students win spot on All-State Honor Band

Pictured clockwise from top left are Esther Kim, Joo Seung Kim, Chae-Yoon Baek, Emily Jeong and Jessica Chun, a two-time winner. Photo/Claire Harlin
Pictured clockwise from top left are Esther Kim, Joo Seung Kim, Chae-Yoon Baek, Emily Jeong and Jessica Chun, a two-time winner. Photo/Claire Harlin

By Claire Harlin

Five students at Carmel Valley Middle School have achieved a top honor in their musical craft — winning a spot on the All-State Honor Band, which more than 1,000 middle school students tried out for statewide.

Pictured clockwise from top left are Esther Kim, Joo Seung Kim, Chae-Yoon Baek, Emily Jeong and Jessica Chun, a two-time winner. Baek, a seventh-grader, has been practicing clarinet under Frank Renk for two years, as has Chun, an eighth-grader. Jeong has been playing the clarinet for four years under instructor Vladimir Goltsman; Esther Kim, an eighth-grader, has been playing flute for four years under Elena Yarritu; and Joo Seung Kim, a seventh-grader, has been playing under Jim Reed for three years.

The five students were the only try-outs from Carmel Valley Middle School, so Music Director Scott Drechsel said it is quite an honor for all the students to make the band — a large group of winners in comparison to many other schools.

“We have some really great players here at this school,” he said. “If you have high expectations, they will meet the expectations. They give me what they can and we have a mutual respect.”

As part of the honor, the students will be one of about 100 kids in two all-state bands to travel out of town for a performance and days of intense rehearsal. The students will travel to Fresno, in addition to practicing for a regional festival next month, Drechsel said.

“They are going to see a lot of great players,” he said.

Chun added, “The people there are really inspiring.”

   
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