MCHS junior Cora Johnson earns spot on National FFA Band

Convention and expo scheduled for October in Indianapolis

By Theo Tate
Posted 9/8/21

Two years ago, Cora Johnson went to the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis as a spectator.

Next month, the Montgomery County High School junior will be making another trip to the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

MCHS junior Cora Johnson earns spot on National FFA Band

Convention and expo scheduled for October in Indianapolis

Posted

Two years ago, Cora Johnson went to the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis as a spectator.


Next month, the Montgomery County High School junior will be making another trip to the National FFA Convention. This time, she will be participating in the National FFA Band.


Johnson was selected to play tenor quads and percussion for the National FFA Band at the convention, scheduled for Oct. 27-30 at Indianapolis. She and her fellow band members will perform several times at Lucas Oil Stadium.


“I’m very excited to go back,” Johnson said.


The Montgomery City resident was picked from a large pool of applicants nationwide after submitting an audition tape. She found out she made the band on Aug. 20.


“It’s absolutely incredible to know that a girl percussionist from a small town can go and make an impact in a band that goes across all 50 states,” Johnson said. “It’s a very big deal for women to be percussionists at all because we are told to have rhythm problems or we can’t carry the instruments because they’re too heavy. So it’s kind of a breaking standpoint. Where I am, it’s a really big deal for me to go. It’s good to represent my chapter.”


Johnson plans to stay in Indiana for a week. She and the FFA band will rehearse three days before the convention begins.


“I’m not going to raise money for the trip,” Johnson said. “The FFA chapter will cover part of it, then I will cover the other part. The national FFA also picks up just a little bit because they’re grateful that we were able to fly in or drive and come and play for them.”


When she was a freshman, Johnson went to the convention at Indianapolis with her Montgomery County FFA chapter. During the trip, she got to see the National FFA Band perform.


“I didn’t really know that it existed until we walked into our session and I heard this drum cadence in the background,” Johnson said. “Then, I see this huge band of 100 people or more marching in. I thought, ‘Wow!’ That is one of the coolest things that I could ever do in FFA. I immediately knew right after that I wanted to apply for it. I didn’t have the opportunity to do it last year because of COVID, so the convention didn’t exist last year. But I jumped at the chance to apply this year.”


Johnson plays percussion with the Montgomery County High School band. She is in her third year with the band.


The junior said she first became interested in playing music instruments when she was in sixth grade.


“In sixth grade, you can be in either band or choir,” Johnson said. “Of course, I wanted to be in band. I just love the thought of rhythm and playing that music. I’m not a very good singer. We were starting out on only little tiny xylophones and learning how to read sheet music. Since I read sheet music, I can play solo pieces. I can pick up just about anything you want and make cadence for it. Everything that I’ve done with band has stemmed from that sixth grade class.”


Johnson said the drums have been her favorite instruments since she started playing them four years ago.


“They’re definitely my babies,” Johnson said. “I take care of them like I would a small child. It’s really nice to have this good of marching equipment, especially after we’ve had really old marching equipment in the past. We worked really hard to fundraise. We were able to get all new marching supplies this year, so this is a lot less strain on our backs. The instruments look and sound way better than they did before.”


Johnson is currently a treasurer for the MCHS FFA chapter. Last year, she was a reporter.


“As an officer for the past two years, I got to meet people from all over our state and communicate with all kinds of different people in our chapter,” Johnson said. “The great thing about agriculture is it’s something you can take into the real world every single day. I might not use what I learned in my calculus class, but my conversation and crop science class that I’m taking this year definitely has a lot of real world applications.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here