Fairland student selected to play in international touring honor band
By BETH HENDRICKS
PROCTORVILLE, Ohio — A Fairland High School student is among 50 musicians nationwide selected to participate in the international touring honor band The Sound of America. Tubist Joseph Knagenhjelm, 15, one of three Ohio representatives in the band and combined chorus, will embark on a 23-day concert tour of six European countries beginning June 29.
“I’m happy. I’m thrilled I got in,” Knagenhjelm said. “I’m just looking forward to playing music, meeting new people and seeing the sights.”
Knagenhjelm, the son of Dena and Robert Blevins of Proctorville, Ohio, auditioned for the national performing organization in mid-May. Just a few weeks later, he was planning his first trip to countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Luxembourg and France. Now in its 37th year, the Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus includes a 48-piece band and 67-piece chorus performing patriotic and popular tunes for European audiences.
Knagenhjelm has been playing the tuba in band under the instruction of Fairland band director Keith Carper since the sixth grade, and has been a member of the Fairland High School marching band, playing the sousaphone, since seventh grade. Among his musical accomplishments are awards for first chair tuba in all-county and all-district bands and first place in the brass division of Marshall University’s S.C.O.R.E.S. competition. He was also a member of the John Marshall Honor Band and has been selected to serve in the Fairland Varsity Vocal Choir for the upcoming school year. Knagenhjelm earned a 3.5 academic GPA for his freshman year.
Known for tuba jam sessions with friends, Knagenhjelm said he liked the tuba as soon as he began playing it.
“I was amazed at how pretty a tuba can sound,” said his mother, Dena Blevins, who described tuba jam sessions as “really loud.”
The Sound of America band and chorus will present a farewell concert at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania on June 29 before heading to New York City on July 4. The overseas trip takes place July 5-21.
Knagenhjelm’s family is responsible for the cost of the trip, totaling more than $6,000. To sponsor Knagenhjelm, tax-deductible contributions can be made to The Sound of America or to Joseph Knagenhjelm and sent to 33 Township Road 334, Proctorville, OH 45669. For more details, call 304-633-7917 or visit.
Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.
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