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District honor band members
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Six students from Cousins Middle School have been selected to participate in this year's District Honor Band.

"This is a record for Cousins Middle," said Christine Kraemer, Cousins' band director.

Students had to perform approximately 10-minutes of scales, short selections and then sight reading for judges. The approximately 100 students with the highest scores earn a position in the band.

"This is something extra they've taken on outside of band here at Cousins," Kraemer said.

Jarod Holland was awarded the first chair clarinet out of 32 spots in the 2008 District Honor Band.

Holland also participated in District Honor Band last year and will audition for the Georgia Music Educator's Association All-State Band in January.

Andrew Heilsen was awarded third chair trombone for the second consecutive year.

"I was kind of worried because I had an issue with practicing because I'm in sports too," Heilsen said, "but I made it."

Tou Xiong and Alex Torres will perform in the tuba section and Leslie Thomas and Amy Danecki were selected for the tenor saxophone section.

Thomas has only been playing the tenor saxophone for a year.

"I actually started with the alto sax because I thought that was what was used in jazz," Thomas said, "but it was tenor and Miss Kraemer needed a tenor, so I did it."

He added his brother wanted to play trumpet and he wanted to play jazz with him.

These students will practice at Rockdale High School and perform a concert for friends and family in February.

"They play music they normally wouldn't play in their schools and tackle more challenging music," Kraemer said.

Heilsen, Thomas, Torres and Xiong also will audition for GMEA's All-State Band in January along with Holland.

Kraemer also brought 12 Cousins' band members to the Governor's Mansion in Atlanta Wednesday for the 2007 holiday concert series.

During the concerts the mansion, decorated for the holidays, is open to the public.

Kraemer said she was extremely proud of all her students have accomplished this year and said she does not accept credit for the students' success.

"They did the work," Kraemer said. "They did a great job."