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Yeager named Missouri All-State Band’s ‘first chair’ clarinet

Farmington High School was well represented at last weekend’s Missouri All-State Band auditions held at Hickman High School in Columbia last weekend. Pictured from left are French hornist Eli Sullivan, base clarinetist Gavin Eaton, alto saxophonist Charles Warren, clarinetist Elizabeth Yaeger and clarinetist Kenzie Drinnin. Dan Schunks

Other FHS student musicians excelled as well

After participating in auditions for the Missouri All-State Band at Hickman High School in Columbia last weekend, Farmington High School junior Elizabeth Yeager was not only chosen for the band but — based on her audition — was named “first chair” clarinet.

The daughter of Kim Yeager, Chris Lindsey and Eric Yeager, she is the first St. Francois County musician to achieve the prestigious position of “first chair” clarinet in the all-state band.

Yaeger is an active member of the Black Knight Marching Band and the symphonic band, as well as the Mineral Area College Community Band, where she has been a member since eighth grade.

In order to gain membership in the all-state band, students must first audition and make the all-district band. Membership in the district band is the prerequisite for auditioning for the all-state ensemble. On the first Saturday in December, students from the all-district bands around the state descend on Columbia to audition.

Auditions are “blind,” meaning the judges never see or speak to the participants. Auditioners are listed only by number. After the first round of auditions, students who performed well are “called back” for a second round. From that round of auditions, members of the honorable mention, alternates, and all-state band are chosen.

Names are posted towards the end of the day, listing the members of all-state, alternates, and honorable mention bands. Music for the band is distributed to the chosen before they leave. There is only one all-state band. School size is not a consideration in selection, the choices are based solely on the auditions of that day.

After finishing high school, Yaeger’s plans for the future are to major in music performance and education and to pursue a career in music. She is undecided as to where she will attend college. Yaeger is excited but a little nervous to be in such a prestigious position.

It was a quote she learned from her band director, Elliot Naes — “Pursue perfection to achieve excellence” — that kept her motivated during the contest.

“In my audition, when I came out, I knew I had things I needed to work on,” Yaeger said. “So, I like that quote because it always makes me push to do better.”

As a member of the all-state band as a sophomore, She knows what to expect in rehearsals that lead up to the concert, but the added responsibility of being first chair will be a learning experience.

In addition to Yaeger’s accomplishments, two seniors — French hornist Eli Sullivan and base clarinetist Gavin Eaton — along with junior clarinetist Kenzie Drinnin, were named to the Honorable Mention band. This is the equivalent of second-team all-state in athletic circles. Sullivan is a current member of the MAC Community Band, and Eaton is a past member.

Senior alto saxophonist Charles Warren was named as the alternate to the All-State Jazz Band. In addition to his performance in the Farmington bands, Warren also performs with the MAC Community Jazz Ensemble directed by Austin Sikes.

Farmington bands are under the direction of Elliot Naes and Mari Porter.

The Missouri All-State Band will perform Jan. 27 at the Missouri Music Educators Association Convention held at Margaritaville at the Lake of the Ozarks. Also performing during the afternoon of music will be the all-state choir, orchestra, jazz band, and band, all featuring the very best high school musicians from around the state.

Dan Schunks is a staff writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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