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The AuditionPosted Friday, December 12, 2008, at 8:30 AM
Marshall High School junior Kim Deutsch auditioned for Missouri's All-State Band and Orchestra last Saturday, Dec. 6, and got second chair in the orchestra. In January, she will rehearse with the orchestra and perform at the Missouri Music Teachers Association conference at Tan-Tar-A.
As one who shares some of her experiences, I would like to congratulate her and relate just how significant this achievement is.
Every year, auditions are held in Columbia's Hickman High School, a massive and old building with poor ventilation and terribly puce tiling. The school's hallways are transformed into little camps of students -- probably 1,000 or more will audition that day -- many of whom will spend at least 12 hours there. Some are sleeping, some reading, some listening to iPods, and of course, some are practicing. They sneak away into bathrooms or secluded stairways to warm up, to get one more run-through of a particularly tricky passage.
But most of all, they are waiting -- waiting for the audition, waiting for the callback, waiting for the results. I shudder to remember those endless hours of waiting, where the tension hangs in the air until it almost smothers you.
Auditions are held throughout the day in various classrooms. They are blind to help ensure fairness; students are assigned numbers, and names are not revealed until the very end. Everyone auditioning must prepare nine major scales, nine melodic minor scales and the chromatic scale. Then there is some sort of etude or excerpt to play; it varies depending on the instrument.
All the students who audition at All-State have already auditioned for and participated in their area's district band. They have practiced the music for months, probably since August, but maybe even before that. The music begins to make you sick, but you just keep playing it in hopes that your audition will be perfect.
I went to high school in Branson, and I was in my district band all four years. I auditioned for All-State four times, but never quite made it. My senior year I was the first alternate oboist, but no one got sick; so I didn't get to play at Tan-Tar-A. It was hard to cope with that failure after devoting so much time, so much energy, so much soul, to the whole process. I am so glad that Kim made it, that she can be rewarded for all her hard work and enjoy a few moments in the Marshall spotlight for her success.
Little Town Blues Goes to China
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Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.