TRINITY – Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve in Randolph County has a vision to immerse students in 21st-century skills in order to guide them to make decisions related to their future goals. One particular student, Zane York, has taken up this vision and created an opportunity for himself through the All-State Honors Band.
The school’s band director, Angel Freeland, has now accomplished her lifelong goal through York’s hard work. She has been the band director for Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve for 13 years.
“It’s really unique here being a six-twelve school; I really get to enjoy some of my students staying from sixth grade to twelfth grade,” Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve Band Director Angel Freeland said. “Our band may be a little bit smaller than some, but that allows us to do a lot of unique opportunities that they may not get elsewhere.”
York is in the eighth grade at Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve. He began his musical journey when he came to school just two years prior.
“She’s taught me everything I know. I love having Ms. Freeland as my band teacher,” York said. “She’s really supportive in all that I do; I just love her.”
“I try to relate stuff to the real world. Sometimes we’ll play songs they might hear on the radio,” Freeland said. “I give them opportunities at concerts to learn solos and duets. Most of my students really like this because they get to go home and practice music that we may not practice in class.”
Through the school’s band program, the students get to perform four concerts a year, and they also offer different honor bands, whose members have the opportunity to play at events and parades around the county.
“It’s a great way to make friends and express yourself. A lot of people love music, and for some of my students, that is just their thing,” said Freeland. “They look forward to coming to band so much, and it’s really like a family. We just have a lot of fun.”
To audition for All-State Honors Band, one begins with an All-District audition, which, if placed high enough, musicians turn to auditions for All-State. For the All-State auditions, the top two musicians from each instrument group from the seven districts of the state are invited to try out.
“He put in so much hard work to get there. He would come practice during PE. His teachers would let him come practice with me any time he could,” Freeland said. “I’m just really proud of him; he helped me achieve a goal I have always wanted to do.”
York’s original plan for auditioning for North Carolina’s All-State Honors Band was to only audition with the bass clarinet; he was later convinced by his band director to also audition with the bassoon. York then placed in first chair in the All-District round with bassoon.
“It has always been my goal as a teacher to have a student audition for All-State, and I’ve had several students come really close in the past,” Freeland said. “It’s just really special to me because not only did he make All-State, but he made it on bassoon, which is the instrument I played in college.”
There were fourteen bassoon players present for this year’s All-State Honors Band audition, and York placed as second chair, missing first chair by only five points.
“I was just so excited to be the first person to fulfill Ms. Freeland’s dream, and I was just so proud of myself,” said York.