Otsego student Ryan Piersma poses with his trombone at the district’s trophy case.

Otsego student makes All-State Band

You hear a lot about athletes receiving All-State honors, but one of Otsego’s band members is getting the same recognition for the first time in its history.

Otsego has a long history of success and accomplished musicians, but Ryan Piersma is the first who has been chosen for the All-State Band by the Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association, according to the district.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to play my music with the best people in the state,” Piersma said.

He is very humble about this honor and said he’s surprised to be the first from Otsego to make the All-State band.

Piersma said he’s looking forward to the opportunity before him. In January, he’ll attend two-and-a-half days of rehearsal with the other All-State members.

They’ll rehearse with nationally recognized conductors and then perform at a concert on Saturday, Jan. 24, during the Michigan Music conference in Grand Rapids.

Piersma plays the trombone and was selected fourth chair for the ensemble; there are 10 trombone players in the All-State band. He got to this point through district-level auditions, held in October.

Piersma said, “They record all the auditions and send them into a central group of judges. They selected who they think the best people are from that pool,”

More than 2,000 students auditioned in Michigan’s 16 band districts; the school band and orchestra association chooses 400 students to make up five different All-State ensembles, including a middle school string orchestra, a middle school band, a high school full orchestra, a high school band and a high school jazz ensemble.

Piersma said he wasn’t sure what to expect from auditioning, but knew that it would be good opportunity if he made it so he gave it a try.

“I really love playing; it’s cool that other people do, too,” he said.

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