Junior places first chair guitar among all Texas private schools



Patrick Reilly earned placement into the 2022-2023 TPSMEA All-State Jazz Band. He placed 1st Chair Guitar in his auditions, making him the top private school guitarist in the state.

Jordan Roberts, Staff Writer

Eleventh grader Patrick Reilly placed first chair guitar, making him the top private school guitarist in the state after he auditioned for the 2022-2023 Texas Private School Music Educators Association. 

With the help of band director Mr. Russell Vogt, Reilly recorded his audition in the band room and uploaded the recordings on the state website along with talented guitarists across the state. After this, a panel of five judges creates an overall ranking of the students’ performances, placing Reilly as first chair overall. 

Reilly described his emotions while recording his audition piece.

“I was pretty nervous getting into it, but once I started playing I just went with the flow,” he said.

He said the preparation for his submission was a long and difficult process. Reilly was tasked with learning four different jazz-styled piece, including pieces considered “bluesy,” “a jazz ballad,” “a samba,” and an “improvised piece.”

While performing, Reilly said he was faced with the challenge of recording with the background noise of a full jazz ensemble minus the guitar on tempo. This posed difficulty because he was recording at a speed that he is not usually comfortable with, leaving little room for error.

Mr. Vogt helped Reilly get the necessary music.“Almost all the preparation was done by Patrick,” Mr. Vogt said. “He took the initiative to learn the music on his own. I don’t even think he took any private lessons.”

Reilly described his sources of inspiration.

“I get my inspiration from my guitar teacher and favorite guitarists, and I listen to a lot of music, which inspires me to get better and gain new ideas,” he said. 

Mr. Vogt said he was convinced that Patrick would be first chair.

 “I knew it would take someone otherworldly to beat Patrick out of first chair, and it turns out that no one did,” he said.

Mr. Vogt described Reilly as “one of the nicest, most humble students that I’ve ever worked with.” He praised his adaptability and ability to play both written and improvised pieces.  

“His parts are super cool and interesting, but still show maturity connecting with the rest of the ensemble,” Mr. Vogt said. “His improv always fits the genre correctly and it’s entertaining.”