By Reece Westfall | Web Managing Editor
Every year, the Avon High School performing arts department strives for perfection. It’s constantly trying to beat its own personal records, and reaching for new achievements. This year however, the department set a new school record: sending five programs to ISSMA State Concert Finals, along with another record of sending three concert choirs. The school will be sending off a band, an orchestra, and three choirs to compete with the other highest scoring groups in the state.
Getting so many groups to State is no easy feat. Students spend the year in and out of rehearsals, practicing at home, and brushing up on their skills in class in preparation for State Qualifiers. Even with all the blood, sweat, and tears, there’s no guarantee that groups will make it, leaving performers sitting for days to see if they made the list. Junior Jessica Miller, who is in all three qualifying choirs, has triple the anticipation.
“When we all made it, I was shocked,” Miller said. “The scores from the different qualifying sites were a lot lower than last year, so we weren’t sure if we were gonna end up being able to go.”
Even after a huge success like this, the students refuse to stop pushing themselves. They know that making it to State only gets them halfway to success, if they want the shiny trophies and plaques to show off their hard work, they have to be in their best shape. Students in band, orchestra, and choir have been attending after school rehearsals over the week to keep themselves prepared to fight to the top against other competing schools. Senior Jennifer Sun has that mindset after the orchestra made the cutoffs to State.
“I found out through my orchestra teacher that we made state. While that was great news, I still believe that we can do better,” Sun said.
Each music group struggles with a wide range of obstacles during qualifiers, so the practice is always a necessity if they want to conquer them. And there wasn’t a shortage of obstacles for the groups this year. From handling nerves, to even getting to the bus on time, it seems that every performer had something to overcome.
“The hardest part [for Sun] about State Qualifiers is when you begin to perform,” Sun said. “My nerves didn’t show up until we were on stage and Mr. Westman was on the podium. It was hard to ignore the stares in the audience and focus on playing the repertoire.”
However, groups aren’t scored solely on their performances. After adjudication, groups are sent to a room to sight-read. This experience is more nerve-wracking for some students as sight-reading is sometimes difficult to prepare for because they don’t see the music they sight-read until they are brought into the room. Junior Chloe Brooke says that this aspect is the most challenging for her in band.
“The hardest part of Qualifiers is getting past the awesome performance part of it and getting into sight-reading because you need to be in the right head space to read a new piece of music you’ve never seen before and play it as well as you can,” Brooke said.
Although the hard work and nerves can be difficult to get through, students look forward to giving State their all. Whether it’s getting to master challenging classical pieces, sharing music with their peers, or performing in front of larger crowds than usual, there always seems to be something that makes all the rehearsals and effort worth it. Junior and Chamber Choir member Max Masko is looking forward to seeing what all of Avon Performing Arts has to offer this weekend.
“I’m excited to see my friends in choir, band, and orchestra and see what they’ve been performing and to see what they’ve been working on all year. I’m excited to perform most of all and see how well we do,” Masko said.
Interested in seeing Avon Performing Art’s performances like Masko? Come support them this weekend at Pike and Lawrence Central. Tickets are only $5 to get into all performances.
Friday, May 4
Avon Allegros Choir performs at 8:40 PM at Pike
Saturday, May 5
Avon Symphony Orchestra performs at 11:50 AM at Pike
Avon Accents Choir performs at 2:48 PM at Pike
Avon Chamber Singers performs at 4:10 PM at Pike
Avon Wind Symphony performs at 6:45 PM at Lawrence Central