Bolts’ 12 all-state band, choir members join the elite

The eight all-state TBHS Bolt band musicians included Jack Crow (Tenor Saxophone), Ella Halloran (Horn), Andon Mefford (Trombone), Hope Schroeder (Euphonium), Bailey Sloan (Flute), David Bishop (Percussion), Jack Burchess (Trombone), Shiann Liston (Trombone) and Ian Schofield (Trumpet). (Photo courtesy of Thunder Basin Bolt Band)

All-state band and choir students from Thunder Basin High School enjoyed one of the perks this week of being among the best at what they do. The selected Bolts spent three days in Rock Springs striking up a tune and signing in unity at the Wyoming High School Activities Association and the Wyoming Music Educators Association’s annual performances.

In midst of the pandemic a year ago, Wyoming’s all-state band, choir, and orchestra members met virtually for their annual rehearsal and performance. With hundreds of students, that created many problems coming together and performing as one unit.

The in-person collaboration of the state’s best returned this year and drew praise from local directors.

The eight all-state TBHS Bolt band musicians included Jack Crow (Tenor Saxophone), Ella Halloran (Horn), Andon Mefford (Trombone), Hope Schroeder (Euphonium), Bailey Sloan (Flute), David Bishop (Percussion), Jack Burchess (Trombone), Shiann Liston (Trombone) and Ian Schofield (Trumpet). The all-state Thunder Basin choir talents were Josh Simon, Emma Lehman, Riley Meester, and Cameron Shearer.

From left, all-state Thunder Basin choir talents Josh Simon, Emma Lehman, Dr. Derrick Fox (All-State Choir Director), Riley Meester and Cameron Shearer. (Photo courtesy of TBHS Choir)

“Our kids were amazing, just amazing,” TBHS Band Director Steve Schofield said. “I was beyond pleased with how our students represented Thunder Basin High School. They were not in the back, but they were sitting at the top of their sections. It was incredible.”

-- Advertisement – Story Continues Below --

The best of the best brought 110 talented all-state band members together from 20 different communities. Add in the orchestra and choir, there were more than 300 all-state students, most of who had not even met before, joined together to share, and celebrate their talents with two days to prepare for one big performance.

Bringing the top high school musicians and choir members in Wyoming together is an educational trip for all. They spent three days listing, learning, rehearsing and the finale was a huge performance by all that rocked the Rock Springs High School gymnasium.

“The first day there includes an opening concert which all the music educators perform, which gives the kids a chance to see us in action,” Schofield said of the role reversals for one night. “Along with the other educators, I played, and my wife did as well in jazz. It’s a pretty cool thing not only for us, but also the kids to see and hear,” Schofield said.

All-state musicians from more than two dozen schools come together for one performance. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Basin Bolt Band)

After that, it was all business for 48 hours. The best of the best practiced, rehearsed and learned for two days. That all led up to the big performance Tuesday night where every group put on a show to be remembered.

-- Advertisement – Story Continues Below --

“It was so great to see the kids a part of it, playing with the best in Wyoming,” Schofield said. “After going virtual last year, which did not go well, it was awesome to see them all together.”

The gathering of the all-state members was the culmination of a lot of work. It’s where strangers become friends, and friends became one band, one choir, one orchestra.

The season started in August, and members auditioned for all-state at the beginning of November. It all led to biggest instate gathering of the year for the all-state musicians.

The top band members at Thunder Basin will perform with the all-state band at different events and rodeos this summer, with the biggest of them all being a trip to perform at Disney World in Florida this August. As for the annual all-state performance, the next time Gillette hosts the event will in 2028.

More than 100 all-state musicians converged on the campus of Rock Springs High School, including a dozen from Thunder Basin. (Photo courtesy of Thunder Basin Bolt Band)