This is the tenth 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: Katie Riley

Hometown: Avon, IN

School Name: Avon High School

Instrument: Flute

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I heard from a friend about how wonderful the Music for All Honor Band was. I had to choose between Indiana All-State Band or Music for All Honor Band, and when she told me about how great her experience was it was a no-brainer.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
One thing I have learned is time management. I am able to get things done more efficiently because I feel like I don’t have enough time. If I had all the time in the world to complete something, I probably would not be as time-efficient. Another thing I learned is how to not get wrapped up in the competition. Too much we are focused on the outcomes of others, when we really should only be focusing on ourselves playing better than we did the day before. Lastly, I learned how to work with others. It is so awesome to think of making music as a collaborative experience, where we all can rely on each other to do our jobs.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Last year, my school band played John Mackey’s Frozen Cathedral. I was very fortunate to play the bass flute solos for this piece. But something I will never forget is the feeling when we got done playing. We played the last powerful note and our conductor let it ring for at least 30 seconds. No one made a peep. You could hear the sound of band members, as well as the audience sobbing at how powerful this performance was. I will never forget this moment where it seemed time stood still.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am also in my school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes club and National Honor Society.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A book I recommend is Love Does by Bob Goff. This book is a collection of true stories about Bob Goff’s life. They are very interesting and really make you think about life in a different way.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
Right now, my favorite piece would have to be the Dutilleux Sonatine for Flute & Piano. Every time I listen to this piece, I find something new to love about it.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
I would tell them to keep their eyes on the prize. This is kind of my catchphrase, as you can find it written a lot in my music. It’s so easy to get caught up in one section that is not going quite right. But you really have to think about the big picture and what kind of message you are trying to convey to the listeners.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After I graduate, I plan to go to college for a Flute Performance degree. I am not sure where yet because I still have to audition.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes, I was in marching band my first three years of high school. I played piano in Avon Marching Black & Gold and we competed at BOA competitions. I was also in the Honor Band last year.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have a freckle in my eye.