VWHS Senior to Perform in OMEA’s All-State Band

Posted On: Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Evan Sroufe

Evan Sroufe, a senior at Van Wert High School, has been selected to perform in Cleveland on Friday, February 4, as a member of the 2022 Ohio Music Education Association’s All-State Band.

Earning a spot in the OMEA All-State Band is a tremendous honor and Sroufe is only the ninth band student in the history of the school to experience it. He is also the only WBL student who was selected to participate in this year’s band.

Bob Sloan, Van Wert High School band director, approached Sroufe in the spring of 2021 and encouraged him to audition. Sroufe recorded five pieces and submitted them for consideration in May. Sloan received Sroufe’s acceptance letter on August 31 and they have been working together with Dane Newlove, a private instructor, to prepare for the upcoming concert since the music arrived in December.

Sroufe, a percussionist in the VWHS bands, stated, “I think it’s crazy that I was able to do this. I do band for fun, I mean I work hard at it, but it’s something I enjoy. To achieve something like this just seems crazy when I’m having fun.”

Sloan chuckled as Sroufe humbly described how he felt after receiving this honor. “It was hard to find a challenge for him,” said Sloan. “Tina [Decker] and I would look at each other and she’d just shake her head. Everything we tried to teach him, he picked it up so easily. This band is the cream of the crop in the state of Ohio. You don’t get there by just ‘having fun’. Hard work beats talent, but when talent works hard, then you have something that’s really special.”

The 2022 OMEA All-State Band is made up of 75 students from the state of Ohio, only nine of which are percussionists, and will be conducted by the U.S. Marine Band’s Assistant Director, Major Ryan Nowlin. The band is slated to perform six pieces for the OMEA’s annual conference at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland on Friday, February 4. The concert is a highlight of the educators’ event, taking place in the Grand Ballroom on Friday night. There are five All-State groups performing: band, jazz, orchestra, choir, and a children’s choir. The event is open to the public and Sloan predicts that numbers may be smaller than usual due to the pandemic, but a typical year may see over three thousand attendees.

Evan is the son of Rod and Tonya Sroufe. His father is a trained musician so much of Evan’s life has been exposed to music, having grown up going to concerts and other music events. He has been playing the piano for 11 years. Evan is an active member of the VWHS marching band, concert band, pep band, District Honors Band, and participates solo and ensemble. He also plays in the St. Marys Community Band and has performed with several church bands throughout Van Wert. Evan is a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and a part of the production team at LifeHouse Church. He actively participates in National Honor Society, Beta Club, and the spring musical at VWHS. He is an honor roll student, an Academic Award winner, Good Attitude Luncheon recipient, and was awarded Scholar Athlete and the Jim Howell award for the high school cross country team. Evan works at Sycamore of Van Wert and also coaches Bitty Ballers at the local YMCA.

Eight others from VWHS have earned a place in the OMEA All-State Band prior to Sroufe: Jerry Thatcher (1992), Tayah Brown (2000), Jennifer Feasby (2005), Kristen Hoverman (2006), Leah Thompson (2007), Chase Carter (2009), Tim Hoverman (2009), and Daniel Thompson (2013).

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