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Playing with pride

Junior flute player to compete in All-State

Junior+Brianna+Guerra+plays+her+flute+during+the+halftime+show+at+the+football+game+against+McKinney+Boyd+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+13.
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Playing with pride

Junior Brianna Guerra plays her flute during the halftime show at the football game against McKinney Boyd on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Junior Brianna Guerra plays her flute during the halftime show at the football game against McKinney Boyd on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Junior Brianna Guerra plays her flute during the halftime show at the football game against McKinney Boyd on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Junior Brianna Guerra plays her flute during the halftime show at the football game against McKinney Boyd on Thursday, Sept. 13.

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Middle school flute players sat at the front of the ensemble performing to inspire the cramped gymnasium of elementary students to join band in middle school. It was then, five years ago, when junior Brianna Guerra was inspired to join and play the flute.

Guerra began playing the flute when she was in sixth grade. She was inspired to learn everything she could about the instrument she chose.

“I like how musical the flute allows me to be, the flute is a very lyrical instrument and I think lyrical pieces are very beautiful,” Guerra said.

Guerra is preparing to compete in the prestigious Texas Music Educator Association (TMEA) All-State competition in San Antonio. Every year, more than 70,000 high school students across the state audition to be able to perform for a panel of judges who rank each player. The highest-ranking musicians will qualify to play in one of the 15 All-State bands, choirs and orchestras. When she first started playing, Guerra had never expected to one day be able to compete in such a prestigious event.

“I honestly didn’t think much of competing at high levels when I first started playing, it was very unrealistic to me,” Guerra said. “I always just thought it was something I could do for fun.”

Veronica Mascaro, flutist and Guerra’s private lesson teacher, has been working with Guerra for almost three years, preparing Guerra for opportunities such as All-State. Mascaro has been able to aid Guerra as she grows as a performer and has been there to watch Guerra as she showcased her new levels of performing. Now, Mascaro and Guerra work together two to three times a week in anticipation of the upcoming competition.

“[I would describe Brianna as] persistent, critical and curious,” Mascaro said. “These three words are terms I wouldn’t have described Brianna with two years ago. Lots of lectures and collaboration have brought Brianna to a juncture and level of competition that requires this kind of intensity. Musical study requires a high level of persistence, especially in Texas where students are competing with other musicians across large populations of great players. Being critical is just as important as being a critical thinker and listener, for a musician. Being curious opens up different options for musicians to explore artistic choices.”

In addition to leading Guerra to opportunities like All-State, band has also given her the chance to meet and create lifelong friendships with people who share the same passion for music as her.

“She is very serious when it comes to preparing in rehearsals, outside of that she is very fun to work with,” junior French horn player Carlie Marcotte said.

At TMEA, Guerra will be able to showcase her talent as a musician and prove her hard work. From Feb. 13-16, Guerra will perform what she has been working on for months in front of judges.

“Brianna has a wonderful work ethic,” Mascaro said. “No one achieves [playing] at the state level without working hard. Anyone can be eliminated at any point through the competitive process. Every audition requires a level of confidence and consistency. While Brianna has competed well the past two years, this year has been a culmination of her work and concentration.”

While at All-State, Guerra hopes to enjoy the experience she has worked toward for her entire musical career. Though the musical aspect will challenge her, she hopes to grow as a flutist and an individual.

“I am expecting a lot of amazing players [and] people on their A-game,” Guerra said. “I’m also expecting a lot of nice people hopefully making friends there with people I never thought of becoming friends with.”

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