A Cherokee County School District student is considered one of the best musicians in the nation!
Etowah High School senior Ryan Lofland was selected for the National Association for Music Education’s All National Symphony Orchestra and earned the position of sitting top chair in the country for tuba. A three-year member of the Georgia All-State Band, Ryan won a spot in the national group by undergoing a rigorous audition process.
“We’re so proud of Ryan for shining on a national stage – he is an exceptional musician and scholar, who represents his band, his school and our school district with excellence,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower. “Our School Board and I value the arts and the opportunities our arts classes and extra-curricular activities provide to our students. We’re grateful to the community for this continued investment in the arts and to our outstanding arts educators.”
As part of the national orchestra, Ryan recently participated in the association’s Honor Ensemble Performance, a three-day virtual event. He and fellow top young musicians practiced under the guidance of master instructors and had the opportunity to speak with composers. The students, including Ryan, also participated in mock auditions with top military bands and received performance evaluations.
Etowah High School’s instrumental music director teacher Stephen Long said Ryan is one of the most impressive musicians he has taught.
“He has gotten to this point because of his effort, hard work, and his desire to be the best,” Mr. Long said, adding he expects Ryan will be offered numerous scholarships to continue his music studies. “Opportunities like the All National Symphony Orchestra have come to Ryan because he has sought them out and prepared for them.”
Ryan said it felt “surreal” to learn he had earned a spot in the national orchestra, and it already has been a life-changing experience.
“The amount of feedback I got from so many professionals was such a great way to hear a new perspective of my playing and allowed me to grow tremendously as a musician,” he said of the virtual event, adding that his conductor, Dr. LaSaundra Booth, made the experience even more meaningful. “Her main motto is ‘The Spirit of Excellence,’ meaning whatever you do in life or music, so always strive your best and for excellence. I am so glad I was able to have this opportunity.”
The Cherokee County School Board and Dr. Hightower will recognize Ryan at the March School Board meeting.