La Porte High School students Robert Green, Chanse Parra and Arvid Jasper recently earned All-State honors in orchestra. The students auditioned and qualified to perform in one of the elite Texas All-State musical organizations during the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Convention in San Antonio in February.
In order to qualify to try out for All-State, students must first rank highly in their All-Region tryouts. Along with the other qualifiers, the orchestra students recorded a rigorous tryout consisting of music from the original region tryout and excerpts from music that were performed at TMEA.
Robert, a senior at LPHS, participated for the second year in the string bass section of the All-State Symphony Orchestra. Chanse, also a senior, performed with the All-State String Orchestra on string bass.
Arvid, a junior foreign exchange student from Germany, participated on trumpet. His All-State group and chair was decided by tryouts at the beginning of the TMEA Convention. His audition to advance from Area to All-State was held in January and was a live audition.
All three young men have become All-State musicians, but their interests, talents, and journey to the high level of musicianship required has been very different, explained Dr. Geoff Carlton, LPHS orchestra director.
Robert has been playing the string bass since he began at Baker Sixth Grade Campus. Seven years late, he has become one of the most accomplished young bassists in the Houston area, Carlton said.
Last year, Robert became the first orchestra student from LPHS to be named to the All-State Orchestra since 2000. Robert ranked sixth in the All-State Symphony Orchestra, which is the first of two All-State Orchestras.
Robert supplements his orchestra studies in La Porte by performing in the Houston Youth Symphony. He has been a member of the Houston Youth Symphony Program for five years and is currently in the HYS Symphony Orchestra, the top performing group. He will be playing Principal Bass during the Symphony's performance of the 1st movement of the Mahler 3rd Symphony. He has also placed first chair string bass in All-Region Orchestra Tryouts five of the past six years.
Robert studies locally with Adrian Washburn, but he has also taken some lessons with Jeff Braditich, who is the bass professor at the University of North Texas; as well as Dennis Whittaker, bass professor at The University of Houston. Robert also had the opportunity to take some lessons with Robert Oppelt, who is the principal bassist in the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
He has received Superior ratings on all of the solos he has performed at region and state Solo & Ensemble events. Robert plans on auditioning at both Rice University and The University of Houston, where he will continue his studies in music and string bass performance.
Robert played football at La Porte until his sophomore year, and he is also a third degree black belt in karate. Robert resides in La Porte with his father, Billy Green.
Chanse, the son of Harold and Joann Parra, made the All-State groups for the first time this past November. Chanse also began his instruction on the bass at Baker Sixth Grade Campus.
Chanse studied bass for the past seven years with Adrian Washburn and has also taken lessons with Dennis Whittaker at the University of Houston. Along with Robert, he attended the Braditich Bass camp at the University of North Texas this past summer.
In addition to his orchestral ensembles at LPHS, Chanse performed for two years as a member of the Bay Area Youth Symphony. His ratings at region level Solo & Ensemble Contests have been Superior. Last year, Chanse also performed and received a Superior rating with a performance from one of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suites at the UIL Statewide Solo and Ensemble Contest at UT-Austin.
Chanse also played soccer and football at the junior high level and he was a member of the swim team his junior year at LPHS. He is in the top 100 students academically at LPHS and he has already been accepted to the University of Houston and Baylor University.
Arvid may be the only member of any All-State organization who can claim to have lived in Germany at this time last year. His musical training on the trumpet began with private lessons beginning at the age of six. Because there was no band program in school, he performed when he could with the local brass band and different local orchestras, Carlton said.
"I never played as much as here. I improved a lot in the last half year due to this band program and private lessons with Assistant Band Director William Hoffman, who is also a trumpet player," Arvid said.
"Arvid was pretty fearless," said Kevin Poe, LPHS band director. "He had never marched before and really didn't know anything about American football games or marching bands. In a short period of time, he became one of our strongest musicians. His English is very good, which has helped tremendously."
Another first for Arvid was the high school musical experience he received at LPHS. Arvid has enjoyed participating as a singer and dancer in the musical "White Christmas." Not only is the musical an experience unique to the United States, but LPHS in particular has garnered a unique reputation in the area for high levels of creativity and performance standards; one of many great stories that Arvid will have to relate to his friends and family once he returns to his home in Germany, Carlton explained.
Arvid also likes reading and video games, but his real passion is science. He plans on pursuing a career in science upon returning to Germany for his senior year. Arvid's home town is Bielefeld in northwestern Germany; which is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia close to Frankfurt, Germany. He resides in La Porte with his American sponsors, Duane and Michelle Adams.
Orchestra directors at LPHS are Dr. Geoff Carlton and Clint Brown. Band Directors are Kevin Poe, and assistants William Hoffman and Steve Ferenczy. Pictures for Robert Green and Chanse Parra were provided by Penland Photography.