Students compete to make All-State

Each year, accomplished band, chorus, and orchestra students prepare for the ultimate challenge: All-State. They practice endlessly in hope of gaining one of the coveted spots in the all-state groups. Only a number of students are accepted each year, but this doesn’t stop them from spending a great deal of time trying to get in. Although it may seem like a lot of work, most students consider the auditions and potential acceptance to be a rewarding experience.

“€œ[It] builds their musical skills, exposes them to challenging music, and teaches them to be independent,”€ says chorus teacher Mr. Linn.

“€œThe students who audition become stronger players,”€ adds orchestra teacher Mrs. Polashek.

“€œIt gives them a chance to develop their skills and lets them enjoy the higher level competitive aspect,” says band teacher Mr. Ewan.

Each student has to individually audition for their respective teachers in order to qualify to be in the selective group, which is restricted to a small amount of students each year.

“€œI have tried out every year since I was a freshman and made it the past two years,”€ says senior Lauren Naylor. “I’€™ve really enjoyed it, even though it is physically and mentally tiring practicing for the concert for two days straight.”

Students are largely responsible for their practicing, but they do get help in their weekly lessons from their teachers. Many students also have lessons outside of school, which helps to build their skills even more. While practicing for All-State, some students are able to discover more about themselves.

“€œIt’€™s interesting that for percussionists their minds usually get tired before their muscles do,”€ says senior Ujjal Bhattacharyya. “€œLast year I actually practiced to the point where I had to skip a day of practice because of how mentally exhausted I had become. I like how hard I have to push myself to get better for this and how it forces me to do so.”€

He’€™s not the only one that pushes himself to get better. Many students practicing for this are able to figure out how far they can go and how far they need to go in order to become better musicians. For the students that had the chance to audition and were then granted with spots in the All-State groups, an entirely new experience and social setting met them.

“€œAs a musician it is important to work with a variety of people and experience different viewpoints,”€ says Naylor.

Though it’€™s tough for the students and participants, it turns out to be a rewarding experience for them all in the end.

“€œIt’™s just an entirely different atmosphere,”€ says Bhattacharyya. “€œTo be playing with people who all truly want to be there and have worked their butts off to play in the band is just wonderful.”