Molly Ragon, a junior at Gordon Lee High School, has made several impressive additions to her musical resume in the past year: first-chair trumpet, All-District Band; first-chair trumpet, Georgia All-State.
Her most recent accomplishment elevates her from "first" to "only." She is the only trumpet player in Georgia to make the 2017 All-National Honor Ensembles, selected by the National Association for Music Education to represent "the best of the best."
She will join the 607 other students from 49 states and territories in a showcase at Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort Nov. 28-29.
"I really couldn't believe it when I found out I had been selected," Ragon said. "I didn't think it was possible, especially considering there [are] only four other people from Georgia in the band."
The performances will be made up of four different rosters: concert band, symphony orchestra, mixed choir and a jazz ensemble. Ragon will be a member of the concert band, comprising 154 other students who also qualified for their state-level honor by beating out other elite band members.
"Molly is a real go-getter, and she's been practicing way above and beyond since she began band in the sixth grade," said GLHS band director Burt Haynes. "For this spot, she had to submit a video audition tape and was selected from students all over the country."
Ragon and her fellow "concert" bandmates will have the opportunity to work with prominent U.S. conductor Dr. T. André Feagin — a former Director of the Year for Drum Corps International who has appeared with numerous regional and world-champion groups, including the United States Air Force Band of Mid-America and the United States Academy Band at West Point — though the group will only have one day to practice together before the concerts begin. That first day will consist of a three-hour rehearsal, some fun time at Disney, then more rehearsing.
"I'm looking forward to making new friends that have the same goals as me and appreciate music the way that I do," Ragon said.
In addition to practicing the music she will play in Orlando, she is also preparing for December tryouts for the upcoming year's honors band. And she will travel with the rest of the GLHS band to Gatlinburg next month for the city's Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade.
As for Ragon's long-term goals, she hopes to one day major in music education so that she can become a trumpet professor.
Contact Sarah Turner at 423-757-6579.