Left to right first row: Davion Wallace, Elayne Grogan, Catelyn Franklin, Drayden Bornkessel, Nathan Griffin, and Abraham Santana. Left to right second row: Jose Santana, AJ Harkrider, Christian Miller, Matthew Whitlow, Kaleb Hathaway, and Clayton Elliott; (not pictured: Addison Brady).

The Carthage High School band students have once again showcased their exceptional talent and dedication, earning an impressive 15 gold medals and 2 silver medals at the State UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest held in the Austin area from May 27 to 29. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the students' hard work and the unwavering support of their instructors.

To qualify for the State Solo and Ensemble Contest, Carthage High School band members had to meet the rigorous requirements set forth during the UIL Region Solo and Ensemble competition held on Feb. 4. The students had eight events in total that successfully qualified for the state level, demonstrating their exceptional musical abilities.

The soloists who advanced to the state level are Addison Brady (twirler), Kaleb Hathaway (trumpet), Abraham Santana (trumpet), Clayton Elliott (French horn), and Christian Miller (baritone). These talented individuals went above and beyond, delivering outstanding performances and earning high accolades for their efforts. Kaleb, Abraham, and Christian all achieved a superior First Division rating and were awarded gold medals for their solos. Addison and Clayton also showcased their skills with excellent performances, earning Second Division ratings and silver medals.

In addition, Carthage High School excelled in the ensemble category, with two brass sextets making it to the state level. The members of the first brass sextet included Nathan Griffin (trumpet), Kaleb Hathaway (trumpet), Drayden Bornkessel (French horn), AJ Harkrider (trombone), Christian Miller (baritone) and Elayne Grogan (tuba). The second group comprised Catelyn Franklin (trumpet), Abraham Santana (trumpet), Clayton Elliott (French horn), Jose Santana (trombone), Matthew Whitlow (baritone) and Davion Wallace (tuba). Both brass groups delivered superior performances, earning First Division ratings and resulting in well-deserved gold medals.

“These results put an exclamation point on the most decorated year that the band has enjoyed in recent years,” said Carthage High School Band Director Nick Durham. “These students have put in additional hours of work refining their craft to prepare for the State contest, and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments this year.”

The Carthage High School band program has long been recognized for its commitment to musical excellence, and these exceptional results at the State UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest further solidify their reputation as one of the leading music programs in the region. The band students' success is a reflection of their passion, discipline, and countless hours of practice, as well as the guidance and support of their dedicated instructors.

Carthage High School and the entire community are incredibly proud of these talented musicians and extend their heartfelt congratulations to all the students who participated in the State UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest. This remarkable accomplishment not only highlights the students' individual achievements but also serves as a testament to the strength and vibrancy of the Battlin’ Bulldog Band program.