WHS students to perform at All-State Festival


Above, senior Anthony Schleppi (second from right) and junior Chris Laven (far right) perform in an orchestra concert. Both will perform in the All-State music festival, Schleppi in the chorus and Laven in the orchestra. “I think this year was an extraordinary year, to have [eight] students selected and participating in the highest honor in our state,” Fine Arts Department Head Susan Memoli said.

Meg Trogolo

Eight WHS students will perform at the All-State Festival, which features groups made up of the top high school musicians in Massachusetts. The festival will take place on Saturday, March 12 at Symphony Hall in Boston.

Freshman Rachel Chau, sophomore Alexander Zhong, juniors Chris Laven and Matt Ludwig and senior Anthony Schleppi will play in the orchestra. Freshman Sid Iyer, sophomore Zach Knapp and senior Dan Pachter will sing in the chorus.

“I really didn’t think I would get in, and I really don’t know what to expect, but I’m just happy I made it,” Chau said.

In order to be eligible for All-State, a student must be chosen to play at the Senior District festival, and their audition score must be within the top 50 percent of their instrument’s section. For example, a violinist must score within the top 50 percent of violinists who were chosen for the Senior District orchestra. The student must then audition for All-State separately.

Chau, who will play violin in the All-State orchestra, found out during an orchestra rehearsal at WHS that she had made it into the group.

“I was really excited and completely shocked because I’d heard that the competition was really crazy,” Chau said.

For Pachter, who sang in last year’s festival, this year’s auditions stood out.

“It was a really intense audition, so I wasn’t too sure about this year,” Pachter said. “It’s always a little bit worrisome in the audition when you’re pretty scared about how you did.”

Pachter will sing in the bass section of this year’s All-State chorus.

According to Fine Arts Department Head Susan Memoli, playing at an All-State Festival is a significant achievement.

“Kids actually put on college applications ‘All-State recommendation’ because it’s hard to get that,” Memoli said. “We have five geographic districts in the state, so you have to be in the top of the top of your district.”

It is not common for a smaller school to send eight students to All-State. In fact, this year, WHS has more students playing at the festival than it has ever before.

“I think this year was an extraordinary year, to have that many students selected and participating in the highest honor in our state,” Memoli said.

Memoli also expressed pride in the students who were selected.

“It’s really exciting to have that many students representing [WHS]. We’re a fairly small district as far as the state is concerned,” Memoli said. “It’s really exciting to have that many kids at that high of a level, participating in All-State and getting to have that experience.”