Performing in the big leagues


Kelli Taylor

Juniors Jackson Burnette (Left) and Victor Nguyen (Right)

Alice Bennett, Reporter

“I wish I had two arms more arms to give you four thumbs down.” Harsh, yes, but criticism is necessary for growth when competing in an environment like the All State Orchestra. Juniors Victor Nyugen, violinist, and Jackson Burnette, bassist, learned this lesson during their time at All State back in January.

All-State is a competitive honors group for orchestra. High school students around the state audition to earn a spot in the prestigious full orchestra. 

The students who manage to break through auditions find themselves in a more challenging environment than normal. Over the course of three days, the orchestra rehearsed a little over 13 hours.

The clinician, Kenneth Thompson, pushed them harder than before. Thompson is known for not holding back criticism, though it is constructive. 

“Criticism is necessary for success,” Burnette said.

The students played three pieces; “Ruslan and Ludmila Overture” by Mikhail Glinka, “Italian Capriccio” by Tchaikovsky and “Blow it Up, Start Again” by Jonathan Newman. The theme of these three pieces was love, divorce and then blowing it up and starting it again. 

“I really liked ‘Blow it Up.’ It was very different from the normal pieces we play. At first I didn’t like it but then I did,” Nguyen said.

“The concert went really well. I really enjoyed it,” Burnette said.

In addition to rehearsing for their own concert, the orchestra students, along with all of the other honor groups, heard concerts and visited the exhibit hall at the OMEA convention.

While the students are playing, the directors are also learning. There are seminars for directors ranging from specific instrument lessons to advanced techniques for teaching students. This allows the directors to learn alongside their students.

“I learned things like using words like energy to get motivation,” said orchestra director Kelli Taylor said.

The directors also listened to various different orchestral groups, such as Project Trio. Project Trio is a “passionate, high energy chamber music ensemble comprised of three virtuosic performers.”