Duncanville Boasts Two of State’s Best Musicians

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Two Duncanville High School band members are proof that practice makes perfect – sophomore Jazmin Yuen and senior John Justus were recently named to the Texas All-State Band. A prestigious position achieved only through hours of preparation and competition success, it’s a legacy that Justus will leave as he graduates in May and Yuen hopes to continue during her last two years of high school. “John and Jazmin are very hard-working students, just like many of the top students in our band program,” said Duncanville ISD Director of Bands Jeff King. “I would say they are very goal-driven, and due to the fact that they are in a very competitive clarinet section, they tend to push each other to reach higher and higher levels.”

It’s a journey that began for both Yuen and Justus in the sixth grade, when they decided to join the band program and play clarinet. While Yuen says it was the only instrument she really knew about, Justus jokes that he chose the clarinet because a popular movie at the time, Agent Cody Banks,claimed that it “got the girls.”  In middle school they were told about the possibility of reaching All-State status once they got to high school. “Everyone always talked about Elias Rodriguez and how he was an All-State Band member all four years of high school,” said Justus. “He was my idol, and we share the same private instructor, Ricky Reeves.”

In previous years’ auditions, Justus did not advance past the Area level of competition, and Yuen admits that while she auditioned last year, she expended extra effort this year. “I was so excited when I found out that I had made the All-State Band,” she said. “I felt blessed because I had worked really hard and earned it.”

Earning the highest honor a Texas music student can receive, Yuen and Justus are in the top 1% of all students who began the audition process – approximately 1,500 musicians were selected through a process that began with more than 60,000. The competition includes 28 Region auditions, where individual musicians anonymously perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to compete against musicians from other regions in seven Area competitions. The highest-ranking musicians then qualify to perform in one of thirteen All-State ensembles (bands, orchestras, and choirs).

As an All-State Band member, Yuen and Justus will perform at the 2012 Texas Music Educators Association Convention in San Antonio on February 11. They’ll also participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally-recognized conductors before the big day. When asked what she is looking forward to most, Yuen replied, “Meeting other amazing musicians.”  While Justus says that he is looking forward to the concert and reconnecting with other band members, he is also anxious to meet prospective college professors. Justus plans to attend either Baylor University, Texas Christian University, or Texas Tech University in the fall to study music education.

4 Responses to Duncanville Boasts Two of State’s Best Musicians

  1. Wow..Conrgrats Jaz from your fam here in ELP..

    Keep up the hard work.

    your primo(cousin) D

    David Arroyo
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm

  2. congradulations Jazz !!!
    from your Grandparents Lelo’s & Lela”s.
    Uncle Ramon and Family.
    God bless you.
    Keep up the good Job:):)

    Luis Yuen
    Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm

  3. Congratulations John.We are proud of you and we love you.

    Papa Dean, Aunt Vicki, Deidra,Marlin and Bentley.

    Vicki Justus
    Thursday, February 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

  4. CONGRATULATIONS JAZZZZZZZZZZZZ FROM YOUR UNCLE TOTO, AUNTIE LORRAINE, COUSIN JOSHUA, VENESSA, AND CHRISTOPHER. WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU N DO YOU WHAT YOU DO BEST IN SAN ANTONIO AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN. WE TRULY LOVE YOU MUCHOTOTOTE N GOD BLESS YOU

    TOTO YUEN
    Friday, February 10, 2012 at 9:16 am