A Hannibal High School sophomore added a significant milestone to his musical repertoire when he was selected for Missouri’s All-State Jazz Band for the second year in a row.

A Hannibal High School sophomore added a significant milestone to his musical repertoire when he was selected for Missouri’s All-State Jazz Band for the second year in a row.

Jacob Bross remembered that he wasn’t sure what to expect at his first audition period during his freshman year. But when he sat behind the drum set for his second year of auditions at Hickman High School in Columbia, his confidence had grown with the knowledge of what to expect. After he received the nod to play in the All-State Band for his second consecutive year, Bross played a five-song set including “Moten Swing” with a conductor who has a special connection with Big Band era music.

“Our conductor was Byron Stripling, and he played in the Count Basie Orchestra — ‘Moten Swing’ was played by the Count Basie Orchestra,” Bross said. “That kind of music was back in the Big Band era, and that’s how he liked us to play our music.”

Bross fondly recalled playing with fellow All-State Jazz Band members on risers in the middle of the stage, with the concert band and the choir situated on either side in the performance venue at Tan-Tar-A at the Lake of the Ozarks. He said the experience of playing with such a talented group of fellow Missouri musicians — combined with the chance to perform under Stripling’s guidance — made for a memorable experience. The group performed this past weekend at the Missouri Music Educators Association annual conference.

“It was a really good feeling being able to play with other good musicians who have worked just as hard as you have to get to that state level, and to be able to work with a very accomplished clinician,” Bross said.

Band Director Debbie Higbee-Roberts said it was a difficult task to be named to the All-District Jazz Band two years in a row as a freshman and sophomore.

“It’s talent, it’s dedication, it’s work ethic, it’s a lot of things,” she said. “I’m very proud of this guy. He’s worked very hard, and he deserves every honor that he’s gotten.”

For Bross and fellow band members, the pace is not slowing down a bit. He’s been busy preparing to play in the District Jazz Band on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Macon. And he said that he hoped to be a member of the All-State Jazz Band during his junior and senior years, too.

To be named to the All-State Band, a musician must first make it into the District Band.

“It’s the beginning of the adventure,” Higbee-Roberts said to Bross. “And then we can look back when you’re a senior and go ‘this is what happened, that was cool, right?”’

Two other Hannibal band members received honors on the state level. Senior Austin Shulse and junior Ryan Deloney were named to the All-State Honorable Mention Concert Band. Both play the trumpet.

Shulse earned the second chair spot and Deloney was named the eighth chair in the Honorable Mention Band.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com