Ella Shaffrey, daughter of Cedar Hill Fire Battalion Chief Marvin Shaffrey, EOW 11/2/21, is a sophomore in high school whose passions lie within playing the saxophone. Ella plays this expressive instrument in a way that has landed her in prestige local and national events. She doesn’t stop at one genre of music; Ella excels in playing many genres, which grants her seats in multiple bands. She plans to continue her saxophone journey with exciting things in store.

Playing the saxophone is part of the family legacy for Ella. She shares her inspiration to continue with this family tradition, “Both my grandparents played saxophone. I wanted to join the middle school band but wasn’t sure what instrument I wanted to play. When they found out, they said I should play the saxophone, which I then found a passion for.” Her enthusiasm for the saxophone has taken her far beyond her middle school band beginnings.

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Since those early days, Ella has gone on to participate in State and is a member of marching band, pep band, ensemble band and jazz band. She can also be seen playing occasionally at her church. “Each band I play in is different from one another, so it is never boring.” It takes a lot of practice and diligence to tap into the many genres she plays, and her hard work has paid off.

Ella has been invited to perform at many exciting events. “My first high school marching band experience was marching in the St. Louis Fourth of July Parade downtown in the pouring rain. My second experience was marching in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.” Ella also reveals that her school band will be heading to the 2025 Sugar Bowl!

Ella shares what accomplishment she is most proud of, “I am most proud of making it on the Jefferson County Honor Band as a sophomore. I also did ensemble band for the first time and my group of four almost made it to State.” She certainly has come a long way since middle school band and proves that she is just getting started.

Her favorite piece to perform is Straight North by Doug Beach and George Shutack, an exciting jazz piece that brings a smile to anyone’s face. “I just enjoy playing, especially since BackStoppers helped me get a new saxophone. My old one was worn out and hard to play.”

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We are honored to have provided Ella’s new saxophone. In addition, we have assisted with band dues and uniforms. We are incredibly proud of Ella and are excited to see what she will do next.

The BackStoppers Education Fund goes well beyond providing tuition assistance. Because of your support, we cover the cost of extracurricular activities, sports, camps, textbooks, clubs, school supplies and more. We want to provide an opportunity for our families to dream big and to know that we will be there to help them achieve those dreams. Learn more about the Education Fund at BackStoppers.org/Education-Fund.