Anna Devine, a senior at Langley High School, was named to the All-USA High-School Band in July of this year as one of 11 flutists selected.
“She is the best flute player that Langley High School has,” said Andrew Gekoskie, the band director at Langley.
Devine was notified about the competition by Gekoskie. He recommended her to the people at the National Association for Music Education (MENC), who with the sponsorship of Hershey's ran the competition. “She works very hard and deserves the honor,” said Gekoskie, adding that the competition is a great way to reward band students for their achievements, both musical and personal.
MENC's Web site, www.menc.org, states that the students are selected for this honor because of their academic achievement, as well as their musical talent. The competition is made up of two stages. During the first stage, after en educator nominates a band student, the student is asked to submit a grade transcript and a list of activities, along with mini essays about what kind of influence music has on the student's life. The students who make the first cut of the competition are not selected because of their musical talent.
AFTER THE FIRST CUT is made, the competition asks that the student send in a tape of the student playing two pieces on the instrument, one piece that the competition asks for, and a piece the student chooses to play. The tapes were judged by members of the 257th Army Band and the U.S. Army Band, Pershing's Own.
“I've always liked playing the flute,” said Devine. She has been playing it since sixth grade. In her days as a member of her elementary school band, she met Robbie Rogart, another Langley senior. They have known each other since fourth grade and have influenced each other's flute playing “to some extent,” according to Rogart.
“She is a wonderful person,” said Rogart of Devine, “very kind, funny, and creative.” The two have also been taking private lessons from the same teacher, Beth Bentley, since eighth grade. Rogart added that Devine was “tough to live up to.”
Devine continues to practice flute every day. “It takes up a lot of my time,” she said. She partakes in individual competitions, community service band, marching band, and she used to teach flute lessons to elementary school students. She hopes to continue playing the flute in college, although she is not sure that she will study music. Devine applied early to Brown University, “it is my reach school,” she said, but she will also send applications to Georgetown University and Boston College among others. “I guess I am looking at city schools,” said Devine.
“I can't imagine any university saying no to Anna,” said Gekoskie. “Schools should be fighting to get her.” Gekoskie has been at Langley for three years but has 20 years’ experience teaching and directing band.
“I cannot think of a better student to represent Langley High School,” said William Clendaniel, the principal at Langley. “I am glad she was recognized in at least one area she excels in.”
Another student from Northern Virginia was also selected to the All -USA High-School Band. Kyle Brightwell, a junior from South Lakes High School, is one of 10 percussionists named to the band, which is made up of 86 members.