Two Sabetha seniors qualify for, perform in All-State Band

Sabetha Band Director Katie Topp, center, joins All-State Band members Zach Younie, left, and RheaEtta Laipple, right, before their performance.

Following two sets of rigorous auditions, Sabetha High School seniors Zach Younie and RheaEtta Laipple earned spots on the 2019-20 All-State Band. All-State Band is an honor ensemble sponsored and organized by band teachers who are members of the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA). KMEA also sponsors an All-State Choir, All-State Jazz Band and All-State Orchestra.

Katie Topp, Sabetha Director of Bands, says it has been quite a few years since anyone from Sabetha was selected for All-State Band. To qualify for the band, students must first audition and make it into their district honor band. Any students who perform at the district level then are eligible to audition for All-State Band — which is divided into two ensembles, one for 1A through 4A and the other for 5A and 6A. Topp said only about the top 15 to 20 percent of those who audition for All-State Band make it.

“The All-State student musicians are truly the best of the best,” Topp said.

About RheaEtta

Laipple took her first music lesson outside of school in the sixth grade — on piano from Joelline Stoller. The summer after sixth grade, she started taking clarinet lessons from Topp.

She has been playing clarinet for eight years, since fifth grade beginning band.

“I had learned to play recorder and a little bit of piano before clarinet, but playing clarinet in band was the first time I learned an instrument formally,” Laipple said.

Laipple said she loves music and band, because they allow her to express herself.

“I have appreciation for all fine arts, but my favorite by far is music performance, because it can encompass all of them,” Laipple said. “I can perform and entertain like in theatre, paint the stage with colors of music like in art, and write a story through my expression of a piece like an author.”

“I also love band, because of all the opportunities it gives me to be a part of other activities,” Laipple said. “This past year alone, I have participated in six large ensembles, four festivals, three masterclasses and five auditions outside of school with even more to come in the near future. It’s a great program all-around that allows you to participate in many different activities in and outside of school with great students and an awesome director.”

About Zach

Younie said the first music lesson he ever took was on violin when he was in first grade, when he lived in Sheridan, Wyo.

“I was fortunate to be in a school district that had the budget to let students take lessons like that for free,” Younie said. “After then, I stopped playing the violin simply because I didn’t enjoy it anymore.”

The next time he picked up an instrument was in eighth grade — when he bought a trombone so he could play in band with his friends.

“After a year on the trombone, I decided it wasn’t for me so I talked to my instructor at the time — Bob Haselhuhn — about playing a different instrument. He told me I would really like the tuba,” Younie said. “So my freshman year of high school, I started playing the tuba, and from there I have never stopped enjoying playing.”

Younie said his favorite aspect of playing music and being in band is that there is always a way to make something better.

“There is always some minute detail to make something good turn into something great, and a way to make something great even greater,” Younie said. “Another thing I love about music is I have never stopped learning. Every time I play, I learn something new and the more I learn, the more I want to keep playing.”

Road to State

Topp said Sabetha had four students who made the Northeast Kansas District Band — Younie on tuba, Laipple on clarinet, Megan Brockhoff on French horn and Madison Menold on clarinet. These four rehearsed and performed in the Northeast Kansas District Honor Band on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Seaman High School. All four of these students then auditioned for the All-State Band.

Band teachers, who have students auditioning for District and/or All-State bands, judge the student auditions, depending on what their specialty is. However, auditions are blind, so judges do not see the students and the students do not see the judges.

Each audition has four parts — instrumental solo, full-range chromatic scale, major scale and sight reading.

For the instrumental solo, each instrument is assigned a piece of music for auditions each year. Topp said this piece is not easy. It is music that a college or professional musician would perform in a recital or concert. Students are allowed to prepare this music well ahead of time, but it is probably the most difficult part of the audition.

In the full-range chromatic scale, students are demonstrating how well they can play throughout all ranges of the instrument — from very low to very high. With the full scale, students are demonstrating their music fundamentals and technical ability.

The fourth and final part of the audition is sight reading. Students have 30 seconds to look over two or three lines of music they have never seen before, which they then perform to the best of their abilities.

Laipple said she started the auditioning process by preparing the music extensively.

“The music is collegiate junior-level repertoire, so it’s very difficult, especially for clarinets as there are more clarinetists than any other instrument,” Laipple said. “This makes for a lot for competition between players and higher standards from judges to be able to get into the bands in the first place.”

Laipple earned fourth chair in the district band, and 19th chair in the state band.

Younie said he had auditioned for the state band for the past three years. The first year he didn’t make it, and the second year he was named one of the alternates.

“And finally this year, I made it into the band!” Younie said. “This has been one of my major goals for the past four years, and the only way I could have prepared for this is by practicing. After being accepted into the band, I was given the sheet music to practice so that our rehearsal time at All-State was more productive.”

Topp said the All-State Band experience is really good for students.

“They get to work with a distinguished clinician — a conductor and/or educator,” Topp said. “They get to perform with an entire band of very talented student musicians, and they get to play difficult but rewarding music.”

“I was playing in a band of the best high school musicians in the state, and just being in the room with everyone was an unexplainable feeling of pride knowing that I was able to be a part of it,” Younie said.

Laipple said the festival was a mixture of a lot of fun and a lot of work.

“We had around two four-hour practice sessions and one two-hour session for the first two days, and then a third day we had about an hour of practice and a dress rehearsal before the concert that afternoon,” Laipple said. “Being in Wichita, we got to eat at some interesting restaurants and see a ton of cool buildings.”

“We also got to visit the exhibition hall in the festival and explore all the instrument and equipment booths,” Laipple said. “Our concert was in a stunning concert hall, and it went very well. Our state band director, Ed Huckeby, was very pleased with all the work we had put in, and was a pleasure to work with throughout the festival.”

All-State Band

The 4321A All-State Band conducts a dress rehearsal.

The 2019-20 All-State Band performed at Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Century II Convention Center in Wichita.

See performance videos at the following links:,,, and

Students selected for the All-State Band, 1234A, were as follows: Piccolo — Avery Givens of Arkansas City; Flute — Hannah Lee of Andover-Central, Sarah Baden of Rose Hill, Courtney Dunagan of Douglass, Abby Vaughn of Bonner Springs, Kaylan Tuohey of Elbing-Berean Academy, Hyemin Choe of Wichita-Collegiate, Grace Lee of Halstead, Jaden Spainhower of Columbus, Elizabeth Buchman of Madison, Maya Isbel of Rose Hill, Lauren Bender of Elbing-Berean Academy, Rebekah Mitchell of Buhler, Mark Feng of Wichita-Collegiate, and alternates Amber Blevins of Wellsville and Katelyn Servaes of Atchison; Oboe — Peter Buller of Inman, Mayzie Mangos of Basehor-Linwood, Allison Gladfelder of Eudora, Kiona Brown of Leon-Bluestem, and alternates Isaac Meyers of Conway Springs and Cadence Wooge of Spring Hill; Bassoon — Maggie Estagin of Rose Hill, McKenna Minneman of Marysville and Jordan Smith of Basehor-Linwood; B-flat Clarinet — Ellissa Stringfellow of Buhler, William Cason of Carbondale-Santa Fe Trail, Cecil York of Buhler, Taylor Morelli of Rossville, Jocelyn Goodwin of Neodesha, Anne Strukel of Lansing, Ethan Hill of Clay Center

The 4321A All-State Band practices.

Community, Caitlyn Sanders of Buhler, Kristen Dennis of Lansing, Sydney Myers of McPherson, Hilary Tallman of Andover-Central, Jaylee Giles of Buhler, Elizabeth Simpson of Baldwin City, Madeline Biggs of Buhler, Peter Vessey of Sterling, Sara Stucky of Elbing-Berean Academy, Alissa Johnson of Buhler, Meagan Huston of Rossville, RheaEtta Laipple of Sabetha, Eleanor Barnard of Eudora, Sarah Fay of Ellsworth, Ben Monday of Gypsum-Southeast of Saline, Emily Duran of Buhler, Ryan Cure of Scott Community, Taylor Lipford of Buhler, and alternates Ellen Flynn of Lindsborg-Smoky Valley and Paidge Rosebaugh of Beloit; Bass Clarinet — Brenden Blakley of Atchison, Isabel Dixon of Colby, Dylan Rizzo of Louisburg, Megan Paulsen of Eudora, and alternate Elizabeth Selbe of Minneola; Contra Clarinet — Macy Brownlee of Sterling; Alto Saxophone — Austin Dale of Hugoton, Keith Hancock of St. George-Rock Creek, Abby Vetter of Beloit, Harrison Kurz of Lansing, and alternate Peter Daood of Wichita-Independent; Tenor Saxophone — Jonah Morgan of Buhler, Meghan Monroe of McPherson, and alternate Robert Stansbury of Lyons; Baritone Saxophone — Nathaniel Tompkins of Abilene and alternate Carl Merrifield of Osage City; Trumpet — Kyle Grimes of St. George-Rock Creek, Caden Dean of Perry-Lecompton, Madelyn Holland of Buhler, Isabel Miller of Rose Hill, Jacob Norris of Andover-Central, Grace Wooge of Ottawa, Logan Erichsen of Ellsworth, Alyssa Mikkelson of Salina-Sacred Heart, Kurtis Ebling of Lindsborg-Smoky Valley, Calista McPherson of Lansing, Kaytlynn Kuder of McPherson, Chris Peine of Garnett-Anderson County, Jun Byun of Andover-Central, Madison Gottstine of Logan, Aaron Burrell of Spring Hill, and alternates Kellon Johnsen of Lindsborg-Smoky Valley and Allison Bomgardner of Buhler; Horn — Jacob Lucas of Lindsborg-Smoky Valley, Grace Schulze of Lebo, Brandon Moots of Riley County, Daniel Kaufman of Moundridge, Elizabeth Alderfer of Goessel, Quinncy Morris of Ottawa, Amelia Koehn of Leoti-Wichita County, Michael Fox of Lansing, and alternates Trevor Peterson of Brookville-Ell-Saline and Ella McElroy of Columbus; Trombone — Annabelle Adams of Towanda-Circle, Sophie Dechant of Baldwin City, Wesley Wurm of McPherson, Atticus Feldt of Baldwin City, Jadyn Hurst of Goddard, Ethan Oglesby of Galena, Noah Erichsen of Ellsworth, Evan Brenzikofer of Rose Hill, Thomas Rosebrook of Abilene, Alex Young of Peabody-Burns, and alternates Eli Lucas of Wichita-Trinity Academy and Eli Nord of Elbing-Berean Academy; Euphonium — Matthew Powers of McPherson, Zach Barnes of Garnett-Anderson County, Adam Vehring of Ellsworth, Christopher Winton of Lansing, and alternate Trevor Bohnenblust of Eudora; Tuba — Garrett Belcher of Garnett-Anderson County, Joseph Ward of Perry-Lecompton, Walker Green of Pratt, Seth Gould of Buhler, Zach Younie of Sabetha, Isaiah Agoitia of Andover-Central, and alternates Madison Boozer of Andover-Central and Bryan Regier of Buhler; String Bass — Kail Stockham of McPherson; Timpani — Jameson Parks of Atchison and alternate Parker Summers of Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege; Mallets — Abigail Toomey of Ottawa, Brandon Zhang of Wichita-Collegiate, Jadyn Clark of Coffeyville-Field Kindley, Josh Brooks of Wichita-Trinity Academy, and alternate Andrew Highbarger of Wichita-Collegiate; Percussion — Isaiah Sterling of Lansing, Ryder Walsh of Wichita-Collegiate, Jacob Mann of Louisburg, Sydney Dick of Buhler, Simon Walrod of Eudora, and alternate Lily Kuhn of Spring Hill.

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The Sabetha Herald has been serving Sabetha since 1876.


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