Musicians gear up for All County


Ryan Flickinger

Senior Zion Souffrain plays saxophone in December’s winter concert.

Band director Christopher Houze has been preparing his students for the upcoming event called All County band, which allows musicians audition to participate in an advanced large ensemble. The students involved with strings just finished their auditions but the woodwind band students are getting ready for theirs in the beginning of November. The students will find out the results of their All County auditions before Winter Break.

“All-County is kind of like an all-star team for a sports team, like where they take some people from each group and they have the all-star team. It’s kind of like that but for band,” Houze said.

Band students also are practicing for their annual winter concert scheduled to be held Nov. 28. The event will be held at Eau Gallie because the West Shore auditorium is not large enough to accommodate the number of bands performing and the number of family members attending.

“There would just be so many parents who would want to come that they couldn’t sit down in the West Shore auditorium,” Houze said. “So we had more parents complaining about not being able to see their kids.”

The band classes are separated into five ensembles which includes strings, advanced band, woodwind band, jazz band and symphonic band. Students are required to complete beginning band before enrolling in another ensemble.

“After you’re done with advanced band, you need to audition your way out. So if you want to move up to symphonic band, you have to demonstrate you’re ready for that,” Houze said. “Then those kids have to demonstrate that they’re ready for wind ensemble and then we have the jazz band.

Sophomore Laith Rukab said he enjoys band and loves making the music the ensemble works to create. 

“The hardest part has to be developing a good tone and intonation,” he said.

The next couple months, the band students will be packed with things to do, such as concerts and auditions for All County. these events are taking place in the months of October, November, and December at Eau Gallie High School and Viera High School.

Houze, who has been teaching for nine years, previously directed the band at Ridge Community High School in Davenport, Fla., before moving to West Shore three years ago. Houze said he enjoys his job, especially because he gets to work with both middle- and high-school students. In college, Houze considered teaching middle school but decided the music he would be teaching wouldn’t be advanced enough to stimulate him.

“It’s just very simplistic stuff,” he said. “So for me, just teaching middle school wasn’t enough, and so [teaching here] is just the best of both worlds.” 

By Casey Ahern