The New Braunfels High School Chamber Brass ensemble has been selected to perform at the annual Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Conference/Clinic. The performance will take place in February 2024 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
“This is a Statewide convention and a massive honor for the Mighty Unicorn Band,” said NBISD Fine Arts Director Marty Lenard. “The process for being selected is quite competitive and an honor to perform at one of the premiere music education conferences in the world.”
In the spring of 2018, NBHS Assistant Band Director Kyle Day approached Band Director David Eckert and asked if he could start a chamber music program at NBHS. Eckert agreed, understanding the benefit of such an addition to the growth and development of the student musicians in the program. What started out as an attempt to provide another musical opportunity for NBHS students, has grown into an immense program of chamber ensembles, including flute choir, clarinet choir, saxophone choir, woodwind choir, trumpet choir, horn choir, low brass choir, and brass quintet.
Brass choir was the start of it all. Since that first year, the program has grown so much that the groups are now expanding outward to perform and compete on a local, statewide, and even a national level.
Last year, the brass quintet, under the direction of Day, was selected to perform at the first ever Brass Quintet Festival hosted by Texas State University, and now, the brass choir was chosen to perform at the performers showcase at the 2024 Texas Music Educators Association annual clinic/convention.
As exciting as this is, it came as no surprise to Eckert.
“Mr. Day is a master educator and has the ability to engage his students, get them excited about making music, and to create within them an amazing ability to perform at a very high level,” Eckert said. “The students and the district are lucky to have him, and it is because of him that our chamber music program, and the program as a whole, has become so successful. This would not have been possible without the tireless work of the directors, the private lesson staff, the parents, and our amazing students. We are so very proud of our students and our staff for this amazing achievement, and we are so very fortunate and grateful to be able to provide our students with this experience.”
The Selection Process
Every spring, TMEA opens up a portal for ensembles and performers. Through this portal, students submit recordings. The submitted recordings are then reviewed by TMEA officials who then select the top recordings from across the state to perform at the conference.
TMEA represents more than 17,000 current and future music educator members and works to support the future of music education in Texas. While its title says Texas, Lenard said that TMEA is internationally recognized.
“This achievement highlights the result of our students’ hard work and dedication to their craft, and we are beyond excited for them to have the opportunity to represent New Braunfels ISD at TMEA,” Day said. “It truly takes a village, and I am beyond thankful for the NBHS Band staff, the private lesson teachers at NBHS, the incredible K-12 music programs we have here in NBISD, the parents and guardians of our students, the school district’s support for fine arts, and of course the support of the entire Unicorn Band community!”