As Isaac Hodapp recalls being on stage at the famed Grand Ole Opry Theater, he is at a loss for words.
“I am trying to think of a word to even describe it,” he said. “It was just awe-inspiring being up on the same stage that so many amazing artists have played on.”
Hodapp recently rehearsed and performed at the famed Nashville theater as part of the All-National Honor Band, a select group of 140 high school musicians from across the country.
The 16-year-old Camas High School junior was one of only two trumpet players in the state of Washington chosen for the honor. It is the second year in a row he was selected.
Thousands of students audition for the band, and to do so, each one must have previously won a spot in either the All-State group or All-Northwest group from their specific region of the country. Only 17 trumpet players were selected.
“It was a really incredible experience,” Hodapp said. “I was really glad that I made it two years in a row. It’s a chance to get to play with people who are on the same level as you or better, and it’s nice to get exposed to different styles of music.”
While in Nashville for rehearsals, the group stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, near the theater where they rehearsed and performed under the tutelage of composer and conductor Mark Camphouse, who serves as conductor of the National Band Association’s Young Composer Mentor Project. He is also the director of the Wind Symphony at George Mason University.
“There were a lot of rehearsals but we also got to look around the hotel, which was incredible,” Hodapp said.
He has been playing the trumpet since fifth grade and enjoys expressing himself through music.
“I began playing the trumpet mainly because of the music I had been exposed to by my dad, like Tower of Power,” Hodapp said. “I really always enjoyed the horn parts.”
He practices eight or nine hours a week and has private lessons with instructor Jaimie Hall, a middle and high school band teacher in Salem, Ore., who also owns a trumpet studio.
In addition to lessons, Hodapp also performs with the CHS jazz band.
Hodapp has auditioned and won spots as a trumpet player for the high school all-state chamber orchestra and symphonic orchestra, and won the solo trumpet competition for the Lower Columbia River Music Education Association the past two years.
He recently was awarded a spot in the All-Northwest band.
Both of Hodapp’s parents are heavily involved in the music world. His mother, Jeannette, is a music teacher in Skamania County and his father, Philip, is Beacock Music’s director of school services.
Hodapp is planning a career in music as well.
“I am hoping to go into music education,” he said. “I would love to be the band director somewhere. Band is just an amazing program and should be supported in all schools.”