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HITTING THE HIGH NOTES: LaBelle H.S. band secures spot in national competition

A blend of teamwork and talent propels these young musicians from local stages into the national spotlight
Posted at 8:26 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 20:26:50-05

LABELLE, Fla. — LaBelle High School’s band has been hitting all of the right notes. In the band room, the students warming up on Thursday are soon to be tuning up to take their local performances to a national spotlight.

Teamwork is at the core of any music program. According to David Perez, the band’s woodwind captain, that’s what makes the LaBelle High School band so strong.

“I don’t think you can have a successful band without having everyone listen to each other, working as a team,” Perez added.

A senior at the school and flute player for five years, Perez also leads a flute ensemble that has earned superior ratings in competitions. He says the experiences he’s had through band have shaped his life.

“To be able to perform proficiently at that level on top of your school work is a great way to train your brain,” said Perez.

Through his hard work, Perez was recently earned a spot in the music program at USF. He says he loves performing so much he plans to make a career out of it. “I do hope to see myself in a big orchestra one day, playing with really talented musicians,” Perez said.

The band's collective effort and individual talents like Perez's have not gone unnoticed. After achieving superior ratings in local competitions, they were invited to perform at a national competition in Atlanta, a milestone that Band Director and Guitar Teacher, Alex Burden, describes as a validation of their hard work and dedication.

"Competing at a national level is just beyond huge. The fact that we're able to go and do this - we’re winners. We’ve already won," Burden said proudly.

Burden, who has been at the helm for three years, takes pride in the band's growth, not just musically but in all aspects of life. His goal transcends creating professional musicians; he aims to nurture well-rounded individuals. "The real reason is to build human beings that know how to listen, that know how to follow, that know how to lead," he remarks.

"I’m really excited to have that opportunity to go up to Atlanta and play with my favorite people in the world," said Perez.