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North Whidbey Middle School student tuba player makes state

Jordan George, an eighth-grader, practices the tuba during advanced band class at North Whidbey Middle School. He was recently selected to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association Junior All-State band Feb. 15 in Yakima.  - Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Jordan George, an eighth-grader, practices the tuba during advanced band class at North Whidbey Middle School. He was recently selected to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association Junior All-State band Feb. 15 in Yakima.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

Carrying a tuba around every day can take a toll on the triceps.

But what felt like a struggle a year ago seems a little less laborious these days for Jordan George.

He’s gotten stronger, and so has his tuba playing.

George, an eighth grader at North Whidbey Middle School in Oak Harbor, recently was selected to participate in the Washington Music Educators Association Junior All-State band Feb. 15 in Yakima.

He’s one of two band students in the Oak Harbor School District going to the event, which brings together the state’s best high school and middle school band, choir and orchestra performers.

Also selected was Oak Harbor High School trombone player Caleb Fox.

“It’s the music equivalent of an all-star team,” said Andrew Judd, North Whidbey Middle School’s band director.

“It gives kids an opportunity to play with like-minded musicians.”

Judd is familiar with the event, having earned All-State honors as a trombonist when he attended W.F. West High School in Chehalis.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., and master’s and doctorate degrees in trombone performance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Judd knows a thing or two about musical talent.

And Judd said he’s been amazed by the rapid progress of George, who is the early stages of his second year playing the tuba.

George started band in the sixth grade when he played the baritone euphonium but then switched to the tuba the following year.

“I really like the low bass sound,” George said. “It’s something I’ve liked since I was little.”

A turning point came last February when George’s grandparents purchased him a tuba that was listed for sale online.

That gave George unrestricted practice time to play to his heart’s content.

Since then he’s carried the instrument to and from school every weekday. He practices about an hour at home most nights.

“The improvement was drastic after they purchased the instrument,” Judd said. “I think pride in ownership was evident.”

George’s selling point was a sound one.

“My goal is to play tuba in college,” he said.

To be eligible to make the All-State band, George had to make a recording for judges to review. Judd used an MP3 player to record George, then sent the files to the judges before their deadline.

George is Judd’s fifth student in three years to make the All-State band. He will accompany George to Yakima for the rehearsal and concert.

George shouldn’t have too much trouble toting around his tuba and case, which he figures weighs about 50 pounds.

“Now my arm has gotten used to it,” George said.

“It’s not that heavy anymore.”

 

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