By Todd Martin
Special to the Daily Herald
Three Harker Heights High School orchestra players earned All-Region honors, the most ever for a Killeen Independent School District program that's growing from the elementary level on up.
Sophomore Natalie Colon received a place on the region wide orchestra for the first time this year, joining junior Preston Patterson and senior Kelsey Hudson, who earned spots for the second time.
All three are viola players. Patterson took the fifth seat. Colon earned the ninth seat. Hudson took the 10th seat.
Orchestra conductor Jeremy Cameron said the preparation for the competition started in the summer and that the music they played was professional caliber.
He was pleased that 28 of his students auditioned for the high-ranking orchestra.
The three students who made the cut said they practiced a lot and took private lessons to achieve the high status.
"It was nerve racking," Hudson said, explaining that they played excerpts from several pieces in front of five judges.
"I was very shocked I made it as high as I did," Patterson said.
Colon said she was pleased to make all-region on her first attempt and said she had not auditioned for an honor orchestra since seventh grade.
All three spoke highly of their time in orchestra and said they hoped the program would continue to grow and attract new students.
Hudson started in orchestra as a second-grader at Mountain View Elementary School. Colon started as a fifth-grader at Mountain View.
Patterson started in seventh grade at Union Grove Middle School.
All of KISD's orchestra students will perform in winter concerts this week.
On Monday, the district's three middle school programs from Union Grove, Liberty Hill and Eastern Hills will perform in a combined orchestra at 6:30 p.m. at Harker Heights High School.
Also Monday, the district's two Harker Heights High School symphony orchestras will perform at 8 p.m. at Harker Heights High School. On Thursday, KISD's five elementary school orchestras will perform at 7 p.m. at Harker Heights High Schools. The elementary school programs are at Mountain View, Nolanville, Skipcha, Harker Heights and Timber Ridge.