May 092014

By Nick Worth

Mesa Community College freshman Tyler Foree of Holbrook is making great strides toward his chosen double major of Audio Music Production and Music Business, but those strides aren’t confined to the classroom.

Foree is the newest rank leader of the Arizona State University Sun Devils Marching Band trombone section.

“The Sun Devils Marching Band is a community thing,” explained Foree. “It’s open to any college student.”

In order to join the band, Foree had to audition.

“Their audition process is pretty relaxed,” he explained. “They just make sure you know how to play your instrument. Then you pay a $35 fee and you’re in the band.”

The process to become rank leader was a bit more involved. For that audition, Foree had to display his proficiency on the trombone by playing the ASU Fight Song and the Alma Mater. He was up against seven other trombonists for the position.

The playing was followed by an interview with the band director, who asked about Foree’s leadership experience.

“I had a lot of leadership experience through the fine arts department at Holbrook High School,” Foree said. “I was also in the National Honor Society and the Future Business Leaders.

Foree started his musical education in Holbrook when he took up the trombone in fifth grade.

“Beth Self taught me how to play the trombone,” Foree said. “I had Steven Courtright in sixth grade, and then Sarah Meeks in junior high and high school.”

Meeks had high praise for Foree.

“There are so many great things to say about Tyler,” she noted. “He has always loved music and he’s always been a great musician, a wonderful musician.”

She said Foree has always been ready to take on a leadership role.

“He held leadership positions in every club he was in,” said Meeks.  She added that Foree was in the Show Choir for all four years of high school.

“He’s always been a great musician,” Meeks said. “He was in the Northeast Region Honors Choir for four years.”

She added that Foree also auditioned for the Northeast Region Honors Band for three years and made that roster every time, but since he could not perform in both ensembles, chose to sing with the choir.

Meeks also noted Foree has a genuine passion for music.

“I noticed in his junior year he wanted to share his passion for music with everyone around him,” Meeks said. “He wanted them to be as passionate as he was.”

She recalled that Foree was always willing to help other students become better musicians, too.

“He’s passionate about being the best performer he can be,” she said. “He doesn’t like to perform things unless he can perform them really well. With every performance he improved, because he found something he could fix.”

Foree was on the band council throughout high school and he was band president in his senior year.

He got a lot of marching band experience at HHS, where he played in the marching band at every home football game during his high school career, as well as in marching competitions. He was drum major for the marching band in both his junior and senior years.

“After the marching season was over I also played in the concert band and the jazz band,” Foree said.

All that experience has come in handy with the Sun Devils.

According to Foree, rank leaders are necessary because of the large size of the various sections in the band.

“There are 400-plus members in the marching band,” he said, adding that 32 of those are trombone players, too many for the section leader to handle without help, so there are two rank leaders selected to help bring order to the section.

The Sun Devils Marching Band has a similar schedule to the high school marching band. The group plays for every home football game during the season.

“Next season we’re also going to Tucson for the game,” Foree said of the annual ASU vs. University of Arizona gridiron contest.

The Sun Devils Marching Band has also been selected for a singular honor.

“They told us that we’re going to play the pre-game show at the next Super Bowl in Glendale in 2015,” Foree said.

Asked if he would then get to stay and watch the game, Foree said he wasn’t sure.

“But even if they bring us in, have us play and then send us out, we can still say we played at the Super Bowl,” he said.