Emilia Truluck, an eighth grader at South Effingham Middle School and daughter of Richard and Becky Truluck of Rincon, is living proof that determination and hard work do pay off.
On March 1, Truluck represented her school and our county as the first chair bassoon player for the All State Band.
According to SEMS band director Matt Leff, she is the school’s first middle school band student since 2003 to earn this honor.
“What’s really cool about Emilia making All State Band is that she tried out last year and didn’t make it past the first round,” Leff said. “But she told me then that she was going to make it next year. She was determined and she worked hard to achieve her goal.”
Truluck’s positive attitude first paid off when she made it past the regional round of tryouts which was held at SEMS in December. After that, she joined 5,000 middle school band students at the second round held in Perry in January.
This group was then whittled down to the 150 members that comprise the middle school All State Band.
“After my audition in Perry, I felt pretty confident about how I played the scales and the etude (solo),” stated Truluck, “but I was nervous about my sight reading performance. I was really surprised and excited when Mr. Leff called me and told me I made the All State Band.”
The audition for All State Band consists of three parts: playing the scales from memory, playing an etude or solo that you’ve been able to practice, and playing a piece that you’ve just seen for the first time and had 30 seconds to look at. Each student is judged by band directors from across the region or state on a scale of 0-100 and must score a 70 or better to be considered.
“This was my top goal for this year,” explained Truluck, “and it’s a big honor. I think it proves that when you put your mind to something you can do it.”
Truluck plans to participate in the SEHS jazz band next year and possibly another concert band.
According to Leff, there are 300 SEMS students participating in a band class and about 90 percent of those continue to play in high school. Leff believes the new band room has not only given the existing band students something to be proud of but it has attracted new students to the program because they want to be part of the excitement.
“We are very grateful for the new facility,” stated Leff. “SEMS has more band students than any other school in our GMEA district. And with the addition of Caitlin Teter, my assistant director, we are now able to serve all those students successfully.”