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Gunter Students Make History, Qualify for Texas All-State Band

Submitted Photo  Gunter High School Freshman Jonathan Avendano, left, and sophomore Alex Leach qualified for the 2A Texas All-State Band and will perform Feb. 15 in San Antonio.
Submitted Photo Gunter High School Freshman Jonathan Avendano, left, and sophomore Alex Leach qualified for the 2A Texas All-State Band and will perform Feb. 15 in San Antonio.

For the first time in the school’s history, Gunter High School students have qualified for the 2A Texas All-State Band.

Sophomore Alex Leach and freshman Jonathan Avendano will perform with the band Feb. 15 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio as part of the 2014 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention.

Avendano, the son of Carlos and Iolanda Avendano, plays clarinet in the Gunter High School band and is a student of Chad Smith.

Leach is the son of Scott and Melissa Leach and plays the euphonium. He takes weekly lessons from band director Justin Wallis.

“Earning a spot in the All-State Band is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive,” Wallis said. “There are only around 110 spots available in the 2A All-State Band, and there are thousands of students that try out throughout Texas.”

The pair advanced to the state level after competing at the region competition in December and the area competition in January. Gunter High School had six students compete in the area contest, the most the band has had in its eight-year history. In addition to Leach and Avendano, other students competing at area were sophomore Edgar Fuentes, junior Tori Guevara, sophomore Chris Jackson and freshman Kenneth Shipper.

“I am so proud of these hard-working students,” Wallis said. “Only a small percentage of students advance from region to area and an even smaller number go from area to state.”

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