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Roccia, Mueller take top honors
TELL CITY - Student performers reaped awards and a resigning assistant director was bid farewell at a Tell City High School Band awards banquet Friday at Mulzer Camp west of Troy.
Sarah Roccia earned the John Philip Sousa Band Award, given for outstanding loyalty, interest and achievement in musicianship, according to Music Director Barry Reasoner. In addition to the honor, he noted, Roccia was receiving "some really cool paperwork," a small bust of Sousa and a lapel pin.
Amber Mueller earned the Paul Silke Award. Named after a former TCHS band director, it designates excellence in the multitude of solo, ensemble, concert and marching activities in which the band members participate. She also received the Jerome Stenftenagel Award, which Reasoner said has been given to students across the nation since the 1950s for "high qualities of conduct."
Roccia was also named the outstanding senior, and Mueller earned the most-improved-senior honor. Hannah Braunecker is the band's outstanding junior, and Brianna Powers earned most-improved designation at the same grade level. Jennifer Niswonger is the outstanding sophomore and Taylor Hale the most improved among 10th-graders. Mary Burst and Laurie Saalman earned outstanding- and most-improved-freshmen honors, respectively.
Kyra Lutgring took home the outstanding-guard-member award, and Brianna Jordan was recognized for most improvement on that squad.
Benji Koelling was named outstanding percussionist and Jared Clayton was designated most-improved percussionist.
"I have worked more closely with this individual than any other director in my life," Reasoner said in recognizing the contributions of Assistant Band Director Brett Mulzer, whose resignation was accepted by the school board May 13. "I depended on him more, and he delivered more. Very few of us know how many hours (he contributed) and how many things were accomplished because of his service."
"It's not going to be the same without Brett," he told the students. "You need to maintain the tradition he instilled in each of you."
Mulzer said he hadn't cried in public since 1995, when the Marksmen band "went back to state for the first time."
"The hardest thing we have to do each year is let go of a senior class," he said, "because everyone who comes through here, and their parents, mean a lot to me. I want you guys to know I do this year after year because of you guys."
"It will be weird not being on the pavement making you guys sweat," he said, referring to summertime marching-band practices on a parking lot behind the school. This is a great program, and I'm lucky to have been a part of it. I've had the best times of my life because of you guys."
Reasoner said current band members need to recruit others into the program.
"Everyone who knows an eighth-grader, call them and get them in the band," he urged, "anyone who's the least bit interested."