Jenks Band Student Conducts Contest Concert After Director Gets Sick

A senior at Jenks High School wants to be a band director, and his chance came early. The French horn player got to step in and direct a contest concert when his director got sick. 

Friday, April 21st 2023, 6:01 pm



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A senior at Jenks High School wants to be a band director, and his chance came early. The French horn player got to step in and direct a contest concert when his director got sick.

The French horn comes easy now to Michael Deutscher. The Jenks High School senior has been playing for several years now, and learning other skills in band along the way.

“I’ve always had a love for music, and also I’ve always loved teaching," said Michael.

Michael has been taking classes to learn how to conduct this year and also teaching middle school students.

All of that was on top of crunch time as the band got ready for their state contest last week.

It’s the performance that takes band director Scott Hillock months to prepare his students for. “I had in my head, I can’t get sick, this is the wrong time to get sick," Hillock said.

But Hillock did get sick, so band teacher Julie Cryer stepped in to try and learn the music to conduct the band for their contest.

“She asked if anyone could conduct Elegy like Mr. Hillock could," said Michael. "Everyone thought I could, so I went up there and it went pretty well.”

It went so well that Cryer decided Michael should conduct the band himself.

Once they got permission from contest organizers, it was a green light for Michael to conduct two very tricky songs the next day.

“That night, I got a bunch of friends from wind symphony," he said. "They came over to my house and conducted through it, and got through the tricky parts.”

Two other French horn players stepped up to play Michael’s parts while he took the baton. Then it was showtime.

“You’re super focused on the music -- not even thinking about the audience,” he said.

Michael got perfect scores from the judges and was given a standing ovation.

Meanwhile– Hillock– still home sick– had no idea Michael was even conducting.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened before at state contest," he said. “For it to go as well as it did, makes it all the more special.”

Michael is going to OU and he wants to be a band director one day. He said this gave him all the confidence that he’s making the right choice.

"I know there is so much to learn, but I’m excited to soak it all in," Michael said.

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