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The Westminster Bi-Line

The Westminster Bi-Line

Students and school commit to All State auditions

Strong devotion to a commitment or cause can completely change its end result, and nowhere was such devotion better observed than during this past Martin Luther King Day weekend, when the Westminster Schools hosted the final auditions for the All State Orchestra. This concluded the long and sometimes trying musical journey for cellists, violinists, and other orchestra players from across the state, including a significant number from Westminster.

“It changes every year,” said senior Scott Peters, who has been in the All State Orchestra since the sixth grade. “You see a lot of similar faces, but you see a lot of new faces, too. Some people do it all throughout high school. It’s fun to see how people really improve.”

Peters has tried out for All State six times now, but he still says the process can be a bit nerve-wracking for him.

“They evaluate you on a point scale,” said Peters, “based off certain criteria. But because it’s such a short audition, you’ve really got to hone in on making everything as perfect as you can.”

He does admit, though, that his formidable amount of experience has its advantages.

“The blessing is that after I’ve done it all these years,” Peters said, “I’ve been able to pick up on certain techniques that are helpful in my preparation.”

That privilege was not available for those who did not have quite so many auditions under their belt, like sophomore Chris Ufere, who was only trying out for the second time.

“[The stress] really changes with your age,” Ufere said, “and how competent you are with your instrument.”

The final auditions took place on January 14th – the round to decide who would play in the All State concert.

“There are two auditions,” said Linda Cherniavsky, director of the high school orchestra. “One at the district level where students prepare scales, an etude, and sight reading, and one at the state level which is comprised of just excerpts of the music that the orchestra will perform at the event, and sight reading.”

The audition attracted a significant number of Westminster students who were accepted into the orchestra this year.

“Having five students this year is a higher number than we’ve had recently, which is certainly an accomplishment,” Cherniavsky said. “We’re really proud of them.”

After all of the musicians’ dedication and sacrifice, the All State Orchestra culminates in a concert on March 3rd.

“The students are invited to come to Savannah,” Cherniavsky said, “where they will rehearse Thursday, Friday, Saturday morning, and then they present a concert.”

Cherniavsky also explained the benefits of the concert’s location.

“The performances are held at the Savannah Civic Center,” she said, “which has very good acoustics. [The concert is] very well attended by parents and friends.”

But creating such a performance requires a good deal of work, as noted by Peters.

“It’s very rewarding to perform,” he said. “But practices themselves are grueling. You go down on Thursday, you do about five hours of practicing the first day, then nine hours that Friday, before the performance on Saturday night.”

However, Peters does admit that the taxing process of All State preparation does eventually pay off.

“The performance itself is awesome,” Peters said. “It’s just really fun because everyone around you is very, very talented, and when all that comes together, it sounds really good.”

Peters recognizes the privilege of being able to play among the most elite of his peers in such a unique setting, and acknowledges the immense sense of satisfaction when he hears his fellow musicians’ persistence and discipline come to fruition in the form of magnificent melodies.

“I love playing in the school orchestra,” Peters said, “but when you put the best players in the state together, it really becomes a great honor to be there and a lot of fun to hear the sound that we make.”

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