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Tallassee student makes all-state band


Miss Amelia Easterling has accomplished something no student from Southside Middle School has done for several years.

She made the Alabama All-State Band, the highest honor for a music student. 

Amelia hasn’t always realized the talents she had within.

“Throughout my childhood I’ve always wanted to try different things,” Amelia says.  “I would always get bored with them eventually but, then my parents signed me up for piano lessons … I continued for three years, [but] struggled to read music.”

Her band director, Mrs. Melanie Skeen, says that Amelia’s musical abilities were always there, though Amelia had not tapped into them all yet.

“Amelia Easterling has been a stand-out in band from the very beginning,” Mrs. Skeen says.  “She has maintained principal chair on trombone in her class consistently through all three years in band at Southside.”

Despite Amelia’s struggles in piano lessons, band opened up a whole new musical world for her.

“In sixth grade I joined band, picked up the trombone and everything clicked,” Amelia continues. “I fell in love with music. It is something that I never get bored with.”

“Along with her many accolades on trombone, Amelia also showed strong leadership capabilities. She often would help those around her and when she found that the jazz band needed a bass guitar player, she stepped up and offered to learn it,” director of bands Melanie Skeen says. “Just like on trombone, she did great with bass guitar too. What was most impressive to me was how helpful she wanted to be to the band. She always made sure she knew her part and helped others reach their goals too.

“A true team member,” Mrs. Skeen says.

All-State Band would have been held this week at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak that ended Alabama’s school year eight weeks early.

Mrs. Skeen continues, “this year she set a lofty goal for herself and achieved it seemingly with ease. She auditioned and earned one of only two All-State spots on trombone. Though All-State this year was cancelled, I hope she is proud of her achievement and I hope she knows how proud everyone else is of her too -- especially including her band director.”

To have been selected for one of only two available spots on her instrument is an accomplishment that many attempt, but few achieve.  Amelia has spent the past three years studying privately with Sena Thibodeaux Bird on trombone and with various instructors in the Auburn area on bass guitar.  She has also continued her piano lessons, and plans to continue her musical journey in high school.

“Music changed me for the better. It put rhythm in my life and filled my heart with powerful beats. I am forever grateful for the SMS band,” Amelia says.