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All State Band taps Bassett students
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Two members of the Bassett High School band have been named to the All State Band. Percussionist Carla Lackey (left), a senior, and clarinetist Kelsey Newman, a sophomore, will participate in All State Band on April 3-5 at Virginia Tech with students from high schools across the state. (Bulletin photo)

Friday, March 7, 2014

By PAUL COLLINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Two Bassett High School students — sophomore clarinetist Kelsey Newman and senior percussionist Carla Lackey — have made the All State Band.

“The tryout process is very difficult and the level of competition is incredible,” said BHS Band Director Trey Harris. “Bassett has had students make it before but never two in one year.”

“I’m super excited,” said Kelsey, 15, of Martinsville. She is the daughter of Lynnanne and Danny Newman.

“I have been (striving) for this for four years,” said Carla, 17, of Collinsville, the daughter of Carl Lackey and Erlinda Lackey. “It’s kind of like a reward. I’m really excited.”

Harris said the two will participate in All State Band on April 3-5 at Virginia Tech with students from high schools across the state.

He described Kelsey as “incredibly self-motivated. ... She has a very quiet personality, but when she picks up the clarinet, she becomes something different. She plays like a very outgoing person.”

“A lot of kids work really hard. She goes way above that,” Harris said.

Kelsey said she took private piano lessons for five years, starting in the third grade. She started playing clarinet in sixth grade at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School and has continued since then at F-C and BHS. She also has taken private clarinet lessons since sixth grade.

In addition to being in the BHS band, Kelsey plays clarinet in the Roanoke Symphony Youth Orchestra, she said. “I just started this year. We practice every Sunday.”

Performing music is “really cool,” Kelsey said. “We can express ourselves without speaking.”

She added that she likes the team spirit of the band.

“I’m considering a career in music — (performing) in an orchestra,” she said.

She has an A average at BHS and is in CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) and the Interact, Spanish and Beta clubs.

Harris also praised Carla.

“Carla is probably the most naturally talented student we’ve had here in a long time, maybe ever,” Harris said. “She has an incredible work ethic.”

Carla said in a previous interview she took private piano lessons from age 5 until she switched to percussion when she joined the band at F-C Middle School in seventh grade.

Harris said when Carla started band at F-C, she was a year and a half behind the other band students. “Within like three weeks, she was caught up,” Harris said.

“It’s the only thing I really enjoy doing,” Carla said of playing in the band. She added she enjoys the creativity and self-expression.

This was her third year as percussion front ensemble section leader and percussion captain in the BHS marching band.

In December, she was honored as one of 125 high school marching band members nationwide selected to perform during the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The bowl, featuring 90 high school football players in an East versus West match-up, was played Jan. 4 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and broadcast live on NBC.

That experience, Carla said, was a confidence-booster and helped hone her performance skills. She also made friends from other states, and she enjoyed playing in an ensemble in a different setting and the cohesiveness of the group, she said.

She has been selected as a member of the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in Allentown, Pa., and will play the vibraphone in the front ensemble this summer.

She has a 4.15 grade point average, is No. 1 in her class and is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club at BHS, she said.

Carla was accepted “on the spot” at the school of music at George Mason University, Harris said.

She said she plans to double-major in two of the following three: communications, music or a field science. She aspires to become a music educator, probably in public schools, or a doctor, she said.


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