Band’s Queen Bee

Top flute player embraces role in marching band show

Frisco ISD Sports Broadcasting/The Ford Center

By Grant Milleson, Liberty High School - TX

The graceful notes listen echo through the cavernous stadium as the queen bee gracefully makes her way to the center of the field.

Surrounding her, a swarm of “worker bees” compliment her poetic performance.

Adorned in black and yellow from head to toe, her fingers fly across the keys of the flute listen.

The Queen Bee in the Redhawks competitive marching band show, junior Hannah Lee is embracing her spotlight position, even if it comes with some extra stress.

“I’m honored that I would get to play such a cool role in our show, but it does come with its own set of challenges,” Hannah said. “I’m worried about playing my part to the best of my ability and not letting the band down, but I try to overcome my worries with practicing even harder.”

The center of the marching band’s contest show, junior Hannah Lee is the Queen Bee. One of the top flute players in the state, Lee performs several solos in the show. (courtesy of David Wong)

Growing up in a musical household, with her mom playing piano and her brother playing several instruments including trombone, Hannah began playing the flute half-a-lifetime ago.

“I was surrounded by several musical instruments in my house from my mom and brother and I’ve always wanted to play my own,” she said. “After reading about a flute-playing character in one of my books I began learning the flute at 8-years-old. I’ve been playing the flute for about eight years now with my private lesson teacher.”

This family activity eventually turned into statewide recognition as Hannah was ranked among the top two flutists in the state of Texas for the last two years. It’s a welcome recognition, but one Hannah isn’t satisfied with.

“I still think I’m far from the title,” Hannah said. “I only made first place in my sophomore year in relation to All-State. I could say I have a sense of pride for my hard-work paying off but I know it’s not an invitation to relax, I’d say it gives me the motivation to push myself even more.”

It’s not a stretch to think of Hannah as the Lone Star’s Queen Bee, but success in auditions was never the top goal for Hannah, it was something much simpler than that.

“What started as just a hobby began developing into a competitive practice,” Hannah said. “I didn’t have any particular goal, I just wanted to be good at something that I had enjoyed. I wanted to achieve this general goal by motivating myself to practice daily even if I was tired or didn’t feel like it.”

It’s a drive that’s been noticed by Hannah’s mom Grace.

“After reading about a flute-playing character in one of my books I began learning the flute at 8-years-old,” Hannah said. “I was surrounded by several musical instruments in my house from my mom and brother and I’ve always wanted to play my own.” (courtesy of David Wong)

“I’m proud of her achievements,” Grace said. “I’m also proud of how she works hard every day in order to be successful. I believe it’s her diligence that brought her good results.”

Redhawks band director Jamie Weaver believes that Hannah’s success is a result of the countless hours she’s spent trying to perfect her craft.

“Hannah’s success is a product of Hannah’s incredibly diligent work ethic,” Weaver said. “She practices hard and a lot and is meticulously focused when she practices paying close attention to every detail.”

Although music may not become a career for Hannah, she does plan to continue to make music long after she completes her high school career.

“I plan on trying for some schools with a music major in mind, but I’m also focusing on exploring other majors and professions at the moment,” Hannah said. “If I decide to not pursue flute as a career, I’ll most likely keep it as a hobby.”

This story was originally published on Wingspan on September 30, 2022.