Best in the state

Local teen makes Florida All-State band

Sheri Kotzum | 315-4353 | @DestinLogSheri |
Fort Walton Beach High School freshman Kannon Goodman made first chair as a euphonium player at this year's All-State band concert on Jan. 12. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

Being selected for first chair in a band is always an honor. But being selected for first chair two years in a row at a state-wide competition is something 15 year old euphonium player Kannon Goodman is most proud of.

When he started taking piano lessons at the young age of 3, Kannon’s mom, Kristen Goodman, never imagined it would spark his musical talent.

“I’m not a music person and nobody in our family is musically inclined,” she said. “My sister started with piano lessons when he was younger and it just evolved.”

Now, the Fort Walton Beach High School freshman plays four instruments, piano, guitar, trombone and euphonium. But since picking it up in fifth grade, the euphonium has been his focus.

“I never even knew what it was before, most people don’t, but to hear him play, it’s probably my favorite instrument that he plays,” Kristen said.

The euphonium is a member of the brass wind family and, according to Kannon, is a “smaller version of the tuba.”

The first time Kannon was first chair at the Florida Music Education Association’s All-State Band was as an eighth grader at Destin Middle School.

“He was first chair last year, but he was the oldest in the band,” his mom said. “This year he was the youngest, so it was really awesome that he got first chair.”

But this year, he wasn’t sure which chair he was placed in. Normally, the first chairs of each section are seated on the outside, where you can see them. But this year’s All-State conductor preferred a different set-up, which meant the first chairs of some sections were seated on the inside.

“I thought I was last chair at first, but I was OK with that because it’s freshman/sophomore All-State band and I’m a freshman, so I was just happy that I made it and got to be there again,” he said humbly.

After some confusion and laughter among his section, they finally figured out that Kannon had made first chair.

“That felt pretty good because it technically means you’re the best in the state,” he said with a grin.

This year's All-State concert was held Jan. 12 at the Tampa Convention Center. After months of auditions, the select students participate in three grueling days of constant practice and rehearsals before a finale concert on the final day.

But even though it’s hard work, Kannon said it’s a lot of fun.

“In All-State bands, and honor bands in general, people want to be there,” he said “You make friends really quickly because everyone is basically the same person.”

“He loves it,” his mom added. “He loves being together with the people who have the same passion.”

Kannon’s whole family came to Tampa to show their support, but due to the way the band was set up, they couldn’t actually see him.

“I usually can’t see him anyway, but I knew he was up there and I could hear it and it was great,” Kristen said. “It’s unbelievable that they can do that in three days. I can’t even fathom being able to play that well, especially at his age.”

Kannon hopes to pursue music in the future and would like to perform music as an adult, but for now, he plans to focus on playing the trombone in jazz band and is considering trying out for the The National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensemble.