As the Van Alstyne Panther Band prepares for another award-winning marching season, its members and leaders want to pause and celebrate two of their own – young men who competed at the UIL Texas State Solo & Ensemble Competition (TSSEC) in Austin over the past Memorial Day weekend.

Tony Hernandez, keyboard percussion soloist, and Matthew Logan, tuba soloist, were each named an Outstanding Performer in their instrument class. Of the approximately 100,000 students participating in the regional UIL music contests and the 25,000 musicians who performed at TSSEC, only two to three percent of the solo performances earned the distinguished honor of being recognized as an Outstanding Performer. “This achievement is truly a mark of musical excellence,” said VAHS Band Director Tim Fulton.

In recognition of this honor, both have received a medallion that is identical to those awarded to the state champions in all UIL events.

Hernandez will be returning as a sophomore in the Van Alstyne percussion program, while Logan is a 2016 Graduate and is attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University on a music scholarship. Both students have participated in the private lesson program offered to every band member in Van Alstyne, which Fulton believes attributed greatly to their success. Both also placed in the Association of Texas Small School Bands All-Region and Area competitions for 2016, leading the ever-growing number of Van Alstyne musicians finding success at these events.

The 2016-17 high school band members have been putting in long hours these past weeks before introducing themselves to the community at the upcoming “Meet the Band” event. The group is growing in size as well as proficiency, with nearly 100 members this year, including the color guard and front percussion ensemble. They will give a sneak preview of the first movement of this year’s program, “Blue,” to friends and family who attend. The entire community is invited to check them out on Friday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium.