The Anna High School music program added another benchmark to its long and illustrious history at Celina High School on Feb. 8 with 56 of the band program’s students qualifying for the Texas State Solo Ensemble Contest.

The University Interscholastic League awards the status of Class One, First Division to solo or ensemble performances who perform their music with superior ability by memory. The solo and ensemble categories are the most challenging of the different UIL music competitions. The awards themselves are given in the form of medals with gold being the top honor. In May, The 56 students who received Class One, First Division rankings will go on to perform in front of UIL judges at the University of Texas in Austin for the chance to receive a first division ranking on the state level.

Nine students earned a Class One, First Division ranking in both solo and ensemble performances. Heidi Sanders, Clay Lewis, Juanita Govea, Sommer Halbrook, Benjamin Turner, Bryan Sanders, Jason Duncan, Trevor Wolf and Kyle Simpson will go on to compete for the chance to be awarded the UIL Outstanding Soloist Award.

Thirteen ensembles composed of two flute trios, four clarinet quartets, one sax quartet, a sax trio, three brass sextets, a trombone trio, and a percussion sextet were among the groups that earned First Divisions and advanced. The list of those going to state include: Clay Lewis, Juanita Govea, Amanda Callahan, Heidi Sanders, Hope Nelson, Griselda Benitez, Sierra Garcia, Sommer Halbrook, Dakota Hargett, Mercedes Vasquez, Nicholas Bert, Ashlynn Love, Brenda DeSantiago, Anna Ramirez, Dustin Strickland, Scott Elmore, Joel Lopez, Timothy Arellano, Cintia Medina, Shelby Barron, Erin Simpson, Barrinique Richardson, Callie Bolender, Ben Vang, Benjamin Turner, Bryan Sanders, Andre Powell, Freddy Perez, Samuel Morales, Trevor Wolf, Parker Hudman, Kyle Simpson, Jason Duncan, Jacob Woodard, Stephen Waite, Andre Joyce, Shun McDowell, Michael Moorehead, Matthew Moorehead, Alex Ames, Dylan Morgan, Dillon Garcia, Ryan Hoverson, Madyson Engelken, Alexis Barrientos, Matthew Watkins, Kelly Parry, Joe Coleman, Tyler Divers, Matt Seago, Kristina Lob, Chance Forrest, Dillon VandenHoek, Nolan Hutchins, Jake Gililland and Porfirio Rubio.

"Earning first divisions at UIL solo ensemble competition is primarily an individual achievement for each student as the students are responsible for practicing on their own and performing on their own. Performing in this fashion adds accountability to each student in the preparation process." Anna High School Band Director Chris Burk said, "However, I do consider the cumulative success of the students as success for our band program as well. As each student becomes stronger on their instrument, it makes our program better."

The Anna High School band will hold a concert to feature the pieces of music that will be judged at the upcoming state level UIL competitions at 7 p.m. on Monday.