Three NHS Students Chosen for All-State Band

By: Cade Stotts

Natalia Warthen, Justin Patillo and Nick Winkles were selected to be in the Georgia All-State Band for the 2016-2017 school year.

The students participated in an audition in an effort to make the district band which is also the first round of all-state auditions. The three students scored high enough to reach the second audition.

Out of about 6,000 of the band students in Georgia, the three hardworking NHS students persevered as they all scored from 90-98 out of 100.

Considering they needed score of an 85, the musical skills of the students were clearly displayed.

Mr. John Erdogan, the Band Director at Newnan High School, stated, “Students such as them take every opportunity to practice.” He continued to talk about their continuous dedication by adding, “It’s no joke.”

The act of making All-State Band is the highest honor that a high school band student can accomplish. It does not only take hard work, but also the will to reach high goals in music.
Natalia Warthen, sophomore at NHS, has been playing the alto saxophone for about five years and says that she got lucky in life. She stated, “I do practice a lot, but in a way it comes naturally.”

She also talked about the work ethic and mindset one needs to go far in the band world.
Natalia stated, “I practice with a lot of other groups and by myself at home. It’s just a lot of hard work, but I enjoy it so it makes the whole experience fun.”

The competition took place on March 2nd through 4th. Natalia, Nick and Justin, along with others from around the state, practiced long and hard in order to prepare for a small concert.

Nick, a tenor saxophone player and NHS senior, discussed the amount of practice that went into the event.

“On Thursday, we practiced for nearly nine hours straight,” he said. “On Friday and Saturday, we practiced for about two hours.”

Nick added, “It was tiring but fun. I really enjoyed playing with people that are on about the same level as me.”

The Newnan High School Marching Cats have had students go to All-State before, but three in one year shows just how much Newnan is raising the bar every year.

Mr. Erdogan commented on how important it is to strive to make All-State, “I was very happy with myself and my students that three students were able to make it this year. It is very significant that students try to make state.”

Mr. Erdogan commented on the somewhat rare occasion, “It’s a bit of a prestige. Some years no kids make it, and some years only one or two make it.”

Nick has been in band since the sixth grade and has enjoyed every second of it. The older he has gotten, the more he has grown as a musician.

Nick talked about his dedication to practicing when he said, “I practice four to five hours a day on some days. It just depends how much time I have and what my goal is.”

Natalia is more of a natural talent when it comes to music. She has only been practicing for five years. She practices with a lot of other groups in order to keep her musical abilities up to date and to improve them.

Justin Patillo, a soprano clarinet player and NHS sophomore, talked about representing Newnan, “I am glad I can add my accomplishments to Newnan’s history and represent the Cougar Nation.”

Nick plans on majoring in saxophone performance and becoming a professor at a college. He has also already auditioned at several universities including UGA and Georgia State.
Natalia wishes to continue in the All-State program while in high school. After high school, she would love to go into UGA’s music program.

Justin also aims to major in music because of his lifelong passion for the art of music.