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Blinn music student wins spot in prestigious symphonic band

Clarinetist Sarah Grace Fairman wins Texas Community College Band Directors Association Concerto Competition

December 13, 2021

Sarah FairmanSarah Grace Fairman has earned a position on the prestigious Texas Community College Band Directors Association (TCCBDA) Symphonic Band’s clarinet section.

Fairman, a sophomore music major who attends Blinn College-Brenham, was the winner of the TCCBDA’s Concerto Competition, a contest open to students enrolled in community colleges across the state. She will perform Feb. 12 at the Texas Music Educators Association’s annual convention in San Antonio.

“Sarah is probably the most talented and hardest-working student I’ve ever had the privilege to teach,” said Jill Stewart, Instrumental Music Coordinator and clarinet professor at Blinn, “and this is just the beginning of her musical achievements. I have loved working with her and can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. She’s an amazing young woman.”

Dr. Sarah Burke, Director of Bands at Blinn, also praised Fairman, a Brenham High School graduate who earned all-region band honors in high school.

“We are beyond proud of Sarah. She is a phenomenal player and an even better person,” Burke said. “We couldn’t ask for a better representative of our program and Blinn College as a whole.”

Fairman is the third member of her family to play clarinet. Her mother Stephanie was in her high school band and her sister Emily was a member of the Brenham High School band.

“My sister is 4½ years older and I really enjoyed going to all of her concerts,” Fairman said, “so I decided to join band. I didn’t know it would have this much of an impact on my life, but here I am.”

Attending Blinn was an easy decision, said Fairman. It allows her to take the core classes she needs to transfer to a four-year university while being mentored by the College’s world-class faculty.

“Everybody here wants me to do well,” she said. “They all have such a welcoming spirit. They’re so encouraging. I really love being here.”

Fairman plans to audition for the Baylor University band next fall after graduating from Blinn. The University of North Texas, Sam Houston State University, and Stephen F. Austin University are also on her list of possible schools.

“I want to get a degree in music performance and get a teaching certificate,” Fairman said. “I want to perform in symphonies and also teach on the side.”

She has been a regular at Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra concerts and would love to perform with it.

“Most of the professors here are in that symphony,” said Fairman. “I really enjoy the environment, going there and watching the concerts. It’s just a dream of mine.”

She is already getting experience as a teacher, giving lessons to students in her hometown of Brenham.

“It’s challenging, to say the least,” Fairman said. “It’s hard being a teacher, but I wanted to get some experience before I moved away.”

If Fairman ever needs letters of recommendation, her Blinn instructors are ready to provide testimonials.

“I can talk all day about this student,” said Todd Quinlan, Performing Arts Department Head and Fairman’s Music Literature instructor. “She’s a great kid and a phenomenal musician.”

For more information regarding the Blinn Music Program, including scholarship and audition opportunities, visit

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