Senior Piccolo Player Places First in State Competition

By Shelby McNamara


It was a cold winter day. Hundreds of musicians stood outside of a large auditorium, anxiously awaiting their fate. This is the day they had been waiting for. This is the day they had been working towards for weeks. This, was UIL State auditions.

"At the State competition, you show up and have a audition on excerpts they give you. The audition only takes about an hour, but then you have to wait three hours for results," Austin High senior, Carlyn Hendler said.

That three hours gives each musician time to dissect each performance, analyze what they did right or wrong and compare themselves to the others who auditioned. Hendler was no exception. She had placed first in each piccolo competition since district, however that did not stop her doubt.

"I felt confident that I had placed third or fourth," Hendler said. "The officials came out and started lining us up in the order that we placed. I didn't realize what was happening, I thought they were just putting us in a random order. I was the last to line up. Then, the official came up to me and said 'congratulations, you are first chair' and I started crying."

For Hendler, high school has not been a walk in the park. She has gone through cheerleading drama and suffered the loss of her dad.

"I used to do cheer and band which was really awesome. After my dad passed away, I quit cheer and there was a lot of drama, so I became a full time musician and my life really changed a lot. It's been hard though," Hendler said. "Music is how I express myself. Whenever i'm upset, I'll play. Whenever I'm sad, I'll play. Whenever I'm really excited, I'll play.You can do so many different things and get across so many emotions. When I was dealing with the loss of my dad, I turned to my instrument and it really helped me to keep going."

Facing adversity also has made Hendler a better musician. Despite it all, she has gone on to make history by becoming the first Austin High band member to ever place first in State.