MSBOA All State Band and Orchestra impress
February 24, 2011 • Sarah Williams, Staff Writer
Filed under Feature
Many students are a part of music programs in schools across the country, but few are actually capable and talented enough to be selected for an All State Band or All State Orchestra.
Thousands of students from all over the state of Michigan audition for a spot in one of the bands. The top students are chosen and then placed into chairs based on the district they live in and their talent.
Howell High School is very fortunate to say that two of its musicians made the cut this year. Senior Carly Jakrzewski, who plays clarinet, was selected for the All State Band, and Senior Evan Clifton, who plays trombone, was chosen for the All State Orchestra.
All State Band and All State Orchestra are similar in audition requirements and rehearsal tactics but they differ in instrumental aspects. An orchestra contains a wide range of instruments including string, brass, woodwind, and percussion. The band contains the same except strings.
For their recorded auditions, Jakrzewski and Clifton had to prepare etudes, play scales, and sight read a selected piece of music. Out of around 2200 musicians that auditioned, roughly 200 were selected total.
This three day clinic was held on Thursday, January 20, Friday, January 21, and Saturday, January 22 at the Devos Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On day one and two of both bands’ practice schedules, the musicians rehearsed around 17-18 hours total on only a few pieces. On the third day, they had a short one hour rehearsal before their concert.
Both Clifton and Jakrzewski only had one conductor leading the band in all ensemble rehearsals. The conductor of the All State Orchestra, Gary Lewis, is the conductor of the orchestras at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Clifton’s older brother, Paul, was in All State Band when he was in high school. Going to watch his brother’s performances allowed Clifton to see how excellent the band actually was, convincing him that he needed to audition for it.
Although Clifton was unsuccessful in the past two years of auditions to make the band, he is very proud to say that he was in it this year and was second chair out of three trombones.
Clifton enjoyed that the group was able to jump right into the musicality instead of taking time to learn the notes. “It was really cool to get to play with people as good as me or better because that doesn’t happen very often.”
During the clinic, Jakrzweski liked that there were music vendors set up that allowed each musician to try out any instrument they chose. Jakrzewski said that the most important thing she learned from being in this band is that “music is a celebration.”
Not only was this a “really good experience to be in an All State Band,” but it is also great for meeting new people, said Jakrzweski.