Thompson wind ensemble gets national attention

In Shelby County, Thompson High School in Alabaster has a successful football program.{}

But, another group of students at the school practices just as hard and is gaining national attention for its talent.

We're talking about a group of young musicians, the Thompson High School Wind Ensemble.

This 65 member ensemble puts in long hours perfecting its craft.

In fact, their director, says these young people{} aren't just high school musicians. They are 'musicians.'

Most recently, the ensemble received the National Band Association's Program of Excellence, Blue Ribbon Award.

This is the first time the award has been offered.

The ensemble is one of six schools across the country to earn this distinction.

"It's kind of like a symphony orchestra but without strings," explains band director Jonathan Bubbett.He challenges his wind ensemble to be the best. "These are the top instrumental musicians that we have here at the school," he says. "Over the last few years we've been able to play some of the most difficult music literature that we can."The ensemble includes students from sophomore to senior ."It's really amazing when you think of the level they play at. When you stop to think of their age it's pretty amazing," he says.Bubbett explains his method of teaching these young men and women. "We always try real hard to think not of what their age is, but where they are musically. I tell them all the time that it bothers me when people refer to them as high school musicians. They are musicians."Now, these 'musicians' are nationally recognized.

Junior oboe player, Brady Nichols, says this ensemble doesn't rest on its laurels. "It's unbelievable. I never thought we would be so renowned. Every year it gets better and better," says Nichols. "It takes hours and hours of practice, but it's worth it. It's worth every bit."

Michayla Moody, a senior flautist, loves the challenge of being part of this group. "It's a huge honor to be a part of it, not everybody gets to be part of a nationally recognized ensemble," says Moody. "Everyone is so talented and I know it takes a lot of work for me tokeep up with the music that we get, because it's level six music."For senior Molly Carter, this is more than an ensemble.

"It is a family. We know everything about each other. We help each other if we need help. It's a close knit family," says Carter.Jonathan Bubbett knows what he's got. These young musicians are at the top of game. "I am so extremely proud of them," says Bubbett. "For them to be able to realize that they match up and they can stack up with anybody across the country, I think it's extremely important, especially at their age."