This is the sixteenth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Jason Donnelly

Hometown: Oviedo, FL

School Name: Paul J. Hagerty High School

Instrument: Euphonium

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
From last year’s honor band, I knew that it would be a great time that I wanted to experience again. When I heard that Michael Colburn would be conducting (former President’s Own conductor and euphonium player), I was even more excited to apply.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Anything is possible with enough practice and determination.
2. Improvement is a constant endeavor; if you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, just keep going.
3. Art is subjective-pursue the things that interest you, not just the things that other people like.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Though it might now technically count as a “band” moment, playing Shostakovich’s “Festive Overture” with a tuba-euphonium choir of over 75 at the International Euphonium-Tuba Festival was absolutely amazing. The sound of that many low brass players will be something I will remember for life.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I serve as the treasurer for the Tri-M Honors Society, and I am also a member of the National Honors Society and the French Honors Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It’s a challenging and convoluted read, but certainly a worthwhile one.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
That’s a tough one. I’d have to say Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” just because of how versatile and adaptable it is. I’ve heard over a dozen transcriptions that are all beautiful in their own way.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Vanilla-but it’s all about the toppings!

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy screenwriting, even though I’m not very good at it.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
No matter how bad failure feels now, always know that there will be another chance, and another chance after that. The more times you fail, the sweeter your successes will be.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on attending college for a degree in Euphonium Performance.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes! I was a member of the 2016 Honor Band of America conducted by Richard Floyd.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
While I am here for my euphonium playing, I also play many other instruments in various ensembles, including tenor and bass trombone, and multiple saxophones.