The idea of spending hours practicing musical scales can be a tedious prospect for even the most dedicated of student musicians. However, that’s just what several top-notch student band, orchestra, and choir musicians from Corvallis High School were found doing in their spare time through their summer vacation and into fall, preparing for auditions in order to gain acceptance to one of the coveted performance spots at the Oregon Music Education Association (OMEA) All-State Music Conference, recently held in Eugene, Oregon, January 13-15.
Eight of the brightest and most talented CHS student musicians recently attended the All-State Music Conference, often referred to by musical educators as one of the highest musical achievements of recognition awarded for high school level instrumental and choir students. Among CHS students selected to attend the conference this year were Zach Jandarasi, baritone saxophone; Miles Jones, trombone; Greyson Merricel, upright bass; and Bianca Reinalda, trombone. In addition, choir students invited to attend the conference were Ryan Manhard, JT Rust, Juliana Rodriguez, and Mia Bledsoe.
When asked about the qualifying process to secure one of the lucrative invitations to the conference and participate in the wind ensemble, symphonic band, or orchestra ensemble, CHS band director Ms. Thomas explained that the first step in reaching the conference lies in receiving audition music at the end of the school year. Over the summer months and into the start of the school year, students put in hours of practice and hard work, and often, attend private music lessons, in order to prepare for All-State auditions, which must be submitted in early October of the current school year. Later in fall, band instructors notify top students of their acceptance to the conference. Thomas further explained that “[the students] get about a month to practice their [performance] music ahead of the conference”.
Thomas also explained that receiving an invitation to participate and perform at All-State is a huge honor for student musicians. Despite the fact that only top-notch student musicians around the state are accepted into the conference, she regularly encourages all music students to audition. She further urges students to take a risk by saying, “In the past, a lot of students have chosen not to submit an audition recording because they don’t feel prepared.” Clearly, individual music talent by musicians helps secure one of the coveted spots at the conference, but taking the first step to apply by submitting an audition may lead to unexpected results, such as receiving an invitation to participate in the conference.
Student musicians selected to attend the conference traveled to Eugene, where they faced long days in rehearsals with other elite All-State participants from around the state, participated in a second audition to determine chair placement during the gala performance at the end of the conference, had the opportunity to work with conductors and musical specialists in their chosen instrument specialty, and finally, after a music-packed weekend, the participants combined their musical talents with their peers into a culminating ensemble performance on Sunday afternoon at The Hult Center for Performing Arts.
If you missed out on all the fun at All-State, and are interested in participating next school year, talk with band instructor Ms. Thomas or choir instructor Ms. Patterson, and keep your summer plans open for some extra music practice!