Melsha accepted to two All-American bands

Jacob Melsha was accepted to the most honorable bands in America at 15-years-old.

Olivia Rekittke, features writer

At the end of the 2013-14 school year, while most students were planning their vacations for the summer or purchasing new swimsuits, Jacob Melsha sent in tapes to NAfME (National Association for Music Education) as an audition for the NAfME All-National Jazz Band and the NAfME All-National Concert Band on trombone.

Skipping forward to Aug. 1, Jacob, sophomore, was notified by three emails forwarded to him from his dad, Jeff Melsha, KHS band director, saying that he made both of the bands he had auditioned for. Jacob made it as a freshman going into sophomore year, which is the youngest year possible.

In order to audition for these bands, he had to have been in All-State band the previous year as a freshman. Choosing the Jazz Band, Jacob is the only jazz member in the state of Missouri that was selected and one of only 20 jazz members in the country selected.

“I was happy after the initial, ‘Wait, what?’” Jacob said. “I had sent in tapes in May and here we are three or four months later, so it had kind of been off my mind for a little bit.”

Jeff Melsha said his son’s accomplishments were exciting and he was very pleased, but he has trouble expressing his pride in Jacob because he does not want other kids to think he is favoring his own son.

“It’s very hard, and as a matter of fact sometimes I probably don’t mention things about him on purpose just to avoid that,” Jeff said. “If it was another person in the band who had those types of awards, I’d probably be talking about it all the time.”

Though Jeff does not always announce Jacob’s accomplishments, he knows his son does not play trombone for the pats on the back. He knows Jacob wants the opportunity to excel in his playing.

One person in the band who does recognize Jacob as an outstanding player is Becket Clark, freshman, who also plays trombone. Becket received Jacob as his designated mentor, but he had already known Jacob through middle school jazz band in previous years.

For the mentoring system in band, an upperclassman is assigned a freshman to help them succeed in the band program. When Clark found out his mentor would be Jacob, he was very happy.

“He’s a great role model in general, honestly,” Clark said. “Whenever I get a chance to look at him in marching band, he’s always got his instrument up, and he’s prepared all the time.”

Not only is Jacob prepared, he is also looking and thinking forward. In middle school, he wanted to direct a band like his dad, but as he matured, he decided playing his trombone for a living was the ultimate goal.

“After high school I plan to keep playing, but there will be more and more people who compete for what I want,” Jacob said. “I’m excited because this is what I want do with my life. This is what I want to make a living from.”