Hillsboro High School sophomore Allison Gray recently took fifth chair position in the French horn section of the Kansas Music Educators Association all-state band and will be performing with the ensemble March 1.
In addition to regularly scheduled school band practice with band teacher Bruce Major, Allison also has been taking private lessons from former band instructor Shana Stepanek for about two years to help develop her musicianship.
“Allison’s parents approached me at church,” Stepanek said. “Her mom used to be a French horn player too.”
Stepanek has a bachelor’s degree in music theory and masters in music education from Oklahoma University.
“The French horn has been my main instrument for about 35 years,” Stepanek said. “I started in school band when I was a kid and have been involved with music ever since.”
She helped Allison prepare approximately 120 to 130 measures of solo material for her honor band audition, in which there were 59 other French horn players competing for eight chairs on the 200 member honor band.
“We worked with a list of required audition material,” Stepanek said. “This is college level stuff.”
During lessons, Stepanek also works with Allison on musical scales and sight-reading.