This is the twelfth 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 Thornton

Hometown: Franklin, TN

School Name: Franklin High School

Instrument: Trombone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
In the past few years, my program has had students, whom I looked up to my freshman year, participate in this honor band. Now, as a junior, I wanted to follow in their footsteps and have the opportunity to work with amazing musicians from around the country.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Passion, endurance, and the importance of community. Passion is when you truly love something that, even when times get hard. Endurance is pushing through those times when it feels like your world is exploding, and you get back on your feet and keep going. My director, who’s basically my mentor, always tells me, “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You only lose if you give up.” Finally, community is so important, whether it’s band, school, where you live, etc. Everything you do effects your community, and you have to choose if you’re going to have a positive or negative effect.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
I have made so many memories in band, it’s too hard to choose one.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I’m in Winter Guard and Concert Band. Outside of school, I volunteer as a student teacher for my church’s special needs program.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I would have to recommend Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. My band director recommended it to me when I was struggling with anxiety disorders. I was able to learn so much from this book, and it’s very rare that I worry about anything for a long period of time now.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
I’m currently obsessed with the La La Land soundtrack, but my all time favorite is October by Eric Whitacre.

Favorite ice cream flavor?

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Whenever I have free time, I love to either read books or watch movies. I love any day where I can snuggle up in a warm blanket with a cup of tea or coffee and read a new book or rewatch a classic movie.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
My piece of advice would be to just be yourself in everything you do. Life is a blank canvas and you should always leave your own mark on the world, not try to imitate someone else’s work.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I am currently planning on going into Music Education with some form of Special Education or Psychology minor. I hope to work alongside United Sound and Music for All as a band director.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
I’ve participated in Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend, BOA Regionals and Super Regionals, Grand Nationals, and most recently, the BOA Honor Band in the Rose Parade.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I’m a Slytherin and a really big Harry Potter nerd.