20 student musicians selected for Senior Districts
This year, a record 20 Wayland High School musicians were selected for the Massachusetts Eastern Senior Districts.
The 20 Wayland students who were selected practiced tirelessly for their auditions after the audition list was posted last spring. The Senior District auditions took place at Milton High School.
In order to prevent bias in the judging process, Senior Districts hosts blind auditions. The musicians had to perform one chosen piece from the audition list, one or more scales and an excerpt of sight reading. The auditions differed slightly depending on which section, band, chorus or orchestra, the musician tried out for.
“Auditioning is one of the scariest moments in a musician’s career,” said sophomore Maddie Memoli, who was selected as a viola player. “It can either be the most satisfying experience or the most upsetting. Every time I enter that room, my heart is racing and my whole body is shaking. As we start with the playing though, I start to loosen up and I am able to play what I have worked so hard on.”
The judges evaluated the musicians on their ability regarding tone, intonation, rhythm and musicianship.
Although the auditions are brief, the end result is the culmination of months of practice, preparation and hard work. For almost every musician, the wait for the performance brings a slew of nerves.
“It was a little bit nerve-wracking waiting around, but I tried to be as calm as possible,” said sophomore Brendan Murphy, who was selected as a bass singer.
Fine Arts Department Head and Orchestra Director Susan Memoli, Band Direcetor Joe Oneschuk and Choral Arts Director Rachel Carroll hosted mock auditions to give the students an idea of what they would feel like and some feedback on what to do.
“Nerves never go away; whatever you do to prepare, there’s always that knot in your stomach. All I could do during the piece was try to ignore my surroundings and focus on the music,” said senior Ryan Budnick, who was selected as a clarinet player.
The musicians who have been selected to perform in Senior Districts are separated into four groups that include a chorus, band, jazz band and a full orchestra. The full orchestra includes winds, brass, percussion and strings. Wayland students were selected for the chorus, band and orchestra sections this year.
“Rehearsing with that level of a group is incredible. When you’re sitting in that room you know that you are with all high level musicians that worked just as hard as you to make it into that high level of a group,” said Maddie Memoli.
The Senior District concert will take place in the beginning of January. The groups will meet at Boston Latin School and rehearse all day on a Friday and Saturday and perform in the concert on Sunday.
“All I could do during the piece was try to ignore my surroundings and focus on the music.”
The top half of musicians in each group, who were top scorers in the auditions, will have the opportunity to audition for All State Districts in late January. All States is the same as Eastern Senior Districts, but on a state level, so more people compete for the same number of spots.
“I like having the challenge of playing with people who are really good. It pushes me to be better and play better,” said senior Nichole Bell, who was selected as a viola player.
“You realize very quickly that everyone at a district audition is there for the same reason. You’re there because you love music,” said Budnick. “The students are friendly and amazing players, and it’s great playing difficult music with a skilled conductor.”