LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Often, individuals who are talented at certain areas, such as singing, public speaking and playing an instrument, like to share their talents with others.

Recently, Paul Thieme, a member of the Hamilton Southeastern FFA chapter, received that opportunity at the 86th National FFA Convention, where he was able to play his trumpet as part of the National FFA Band.

He noted that a few hundred FFA members audition for the national band every year, but only 87 of those students make the band.

Thieme, who serves as the Indiana FFA Band president, mentioned that until he reached high school and joined his FFA chapter, he didn’t even know there was a state FFA band, let alone a national one.

He added that when he learned about the state band, he joined it because he could incorporate both his passion for agriculture, as well as his love for playing the trumpet.

“Playing in the National FFA Band was a cool experience,” Thieme said, adding that band members had to arrive the Saturday prior to convention to begin practicing and stayed until the following Saturday when all the festivities concluded.

The state band president noted that although he auditioned and was selected for the national band based on his talent, he still had a lot of practicing to do in preparation for the convention to make sure he was in shape and could keep up with the other members because his audition was during the summer.

“I definitely think it is something more Indiana members should audition for,” he said.

The highlight of his experience, Thieme said, was playing at the grand opening session of the national convention, as well as being able to introduce the band during the concert they performed.