Red Oak High School junior Nathan Howton will go on to represent himself and the school district for the second time as part of the 6A Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band in San Antonio, Feb 17.

“Nathan Howton has done something that is very rare in the state of Texas,” says Red Oak band director Steven Moss. “He has managed to not only make the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Band two years in a row, but he has also made it for 6A (which is a classification above our own). Nathan is an incredibly hard worker and a wonderful example to all of his peers.”

Howton has always been passionate about music, so much so, that he’s stood out from the crowd of his high school band. Howton began playing the French horn in 6th grade.

“There has always been that wonder in the back of my head,” Howton said. “After I joined I fell in love with it.”

The path to all-state is a long one. In late July or early August, around 70,000 young musicians across the state receive the music they will play during the audition. From there, the musicians will compete in the all-region competition in December. A select few are then selected to proceed to the all-area completion.

The top competitors then advance to the all-state level. Howton said only 1,700 students from across the state will be selected to play at the all-state band level.

“They say it’s the highest honor that a high school musician can achieve in Texas, so it’s a really big accomplishment in my opinion,” Howton said. “This is my second year doing it, and I worked really hard for it.”

After high school, Howton plans to pursue a degree in music by double majoring in music performance and music education. He said his dream is to perform at the New York Philharmonic or in the Chicago Symphony.

“The sky is the limit for these kids,” Moss said. “He’s always been a fantastic musician, but his progression over the last two years has been vast. He’s always been at the top of the rung in every grade level he’s been in. It makes you proud of and for them.”

Howton will perform with the Texas All-State Band in San Antonio, on Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as part of the 2018 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention.