Rising Teton High senior Andrew Simmons has received one of the highest honors in the interscholastic music world: a place in the All-National Honors Concert Band.
Simmons was accepted to the program as a trombonist, although he also plays trumpet, percussion, and French horn. He participated in the 2019 All-Northwest Wind Symphony and the 2020 Idaho All-State Jazz Ensemble, making him eligible to audition for All-National. He applied for the program by submitting an audition video in May and just learned that he was accepted.
“The audition process is similar to the All-State and All-Northwest auditions but more rigorous and more difficult to be accepted,” said THS music teacher Kristy Romano. “He is up against amazing musicians throughout the nation.”
The All-National Honor Ensembles are scheduled to be held the first week of November in Orlando, Florida. During the conference, the young musicians and directors rehearse together for a few days before performing a concert. The format could change or the conference could be canceled, depending on COVID, but the fact that Simmons was accepted is still a huge honor, Romano said. In fact, he’s the first THS student ever to have been named to All-National.
Simmons not only plays instruments, he is also a composer and submits his work in composition competitions each year.
“Composing music was something I got interested in in about sixth grade, however, I never got the chance to really dive into it until freshman year,” Simmons said. “After that I realized that I liked doing it and haven’t stopped.”
The THS Symphonic Band performed one of his pieces at the 2019 Idaho All-State Music Conference, and Simmons received a standing ovation from the Idaho music educators after the performance. He remains modest about his accomplishments.
“A lot of my time has been put towards playing and composing music,” Simmons said. “I try and practice whenever I can and same with composing. I don’t really have a specific schedule, I just play for fun.”