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Q&A with MMEA All-State attendees

16+Wayland+High+School+students+attended+the+Massachusetts+Music+Educators+Association+%28MMEA%29+All-State+Festival+in+Boston+on+March+10th+and+11th%2C+2017.+The+number+of+students+chosen+to+play+at+All+State+was+an+all-time+high+for+WHS.
16 Wayland High School students attended the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State Festival in Boston on March 10th and 11th, 2017. The number of students chosen to play at All State was an all-time high for WHS.

16 Wayland High School students attended the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State Festival in Boston on March 10th and 11th, 2017. The number of students chosen to play at All State was an all-time high for WHS.

Credit: Meg Trogolo

Credit: Meg Trogolo

16 Wayland High School students attended the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State Festival in Boston on March 10th and 11th, 2017. The number of students chosen to play at All State was an all-time high for WHS.

Kevin Wang and Kyle Chen

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On March 10th and 11th, a select group of 16 WHS students performed in various bands, orchestras, and choirs at the MMEA All-State Festival at Boston’s Symphony Hall. WSPN interviewed six of these students about their experiences during the festival.

Freshman Brendan Ho, Violin
What was your favorite part of All-State?
It was definitely having to wake up early. Waking up early was my favorite [because] if you wake up early you’re a better person.

What was the most surprising part of All States? What did you not expect?
I was not expecting that we had to get up so early on the last day. I tried to get up at five, but then [I] fell back asleep and I had to wake up at 5:40.

What was the hardest part of All-State?
The hardest part was definitely waking up in the morning. When you wake up in the morning there’s really not a lot of stuff you can do. They make you wake up and you don’t even have enough time to do homework and stuff.

How was the overall musical experience playing with musicians at this high a level?
The musicians are really good, but [we] only [had] three days to prepare, plus people [were] waking up so early.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Tiring.

Freshman McKenna Kelemanik, Tuba
What was your favorite part of All-State?
Definitely playing in Symphony Hall and also meeting other tuba players because I never meet other tuba players. I [went] to a brass camp this summer, so I knew one of [the tuba players].

What was the most surprising part of All-State? What did you not expect?
I didn’t expect [that] it was [going to be] really tiring. I expected the band to be really good, and it was probably even better than I thought it was going to be.

What was the hardest part of All-State?
The hardest part [were] the rehearsals because they were just long. I think it would start at 10 a.m. or 9 a.m., but by the time we got back to our rooms it was probably 8 or 9 at night. It was all day long.

How was the overall musical experience playing with musicians at this high a level?
It was awesome because in school people can be distracting. Everyone there all had the same focus and all really practiced, and everyone just sounded really awesome together.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?

Amazing. I loved it.

Freshman Jesse Wang, String Bass
What was your favorite part of All-State?
Probably the chicken dinner we had one night. That was pretty good.

What was the most surprising part of All-State? What did you not expect?
To have so many hours of rehearsal and not enough sleep. The first two days had nine hours [of rehearsal]. We probably practiced for two to four hours [on the third day].

What was the hardest part of All-State?
I guess preparation.

How was the overall musical experience playing with musicians at this high a level?
The overall musical experience was pretty good. It was good because everybody was good.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Exhausting.

Sophomore Siddhanth Iyer, Tenor
What was your favorite part of All-State?
Seeing the end result of the music we made.

What was the most surprising part of All-State? What did you not expect?
Well, this wasn’t my first time going, but last year when I was a freshman, didn’t expect how it wasn’t completely easy going but it wasn’t as hardcore as I thought it was going to be. There were a lot of [rest] breaks and the conductor was really nice and all.

What was the hardest part of All-State?
Probably the preparation. The time between getting the music and the actual festival is a couple weeks, and you have to learn like six songs in that time, while dealing with schoolwork too. It’s a lot of preparation, but it’s worth it in the end.

How was the overall musical experience singing with musicians at this high a level?
It’s really nice. Obviously, it’s a really big honor to get selected for a chorus like this, and once you get there, you get to make music with all these other great musicians, so the end result is just amazing. Plus, the sound in Symphony Hall is just off the charts.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Hard work but a good end result.

Junior Zachary Knapp, Bass
What was your favorite part of All-State?
My favorite part was listening to the musical talent of the other musicians. Even though we were all singers, everyone there was immensely talented in instruments, whether it be piano, or strangely enough, recorder.

What was the most surprising part of All-State? What did you not expect?
There was little that was all that surprising, because I did it last year, but one thing that was quite shocking was the fact that there was no part-testing this year. Part-testing is when a random small number of each voice part is called to perform in octets for judges to confirm that they knew their music in advance. This year because everyone already knew their music, there was none.

What was the hardest part of All-State?
The hardest part of All States was trying to make new friends, while still staying close to the other Wayland students there. However, I think I managed it pretty well.

How was the overall musical experience singing with musicians at this high a level?
It was fantastic. The level of musical talent there is unbelievable. Singing with these singers makes me particularly excited to sing at All-Easterns in April, which is the best singers in 11 East Coast states, DC, and part of EU.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Scratchy throat.

Senior Matthew Ludwig, Cello
What was your favorite part of All-State?
There were a lot of things that I liked a lot about All-State. My favorite part would probably be reconnecting with all my old friends from different orchestras that I’ve played in. Just seeing a lot of familiar faces and talking to people I haven’t talked to in a long time.

What was the most surprising part of All-State? What did you not expect?
I didn’t think there was anything really surprising about it because I went last year. What was different was that last year’s [festival] was in the Seaport Hotel in Boston, whereas this year it was in the Sheraton Hotel in Boston. That was a little different. The location of the Sheraton was closer to Symphony Hall. What was different was that we walked to Symphony Hall instead of taking buses there. [It was] a ten to fifteen minute walk. It was really cool there. It was very cool.

What was the hardest part of All-State?
The hardest part of All-State was definitely walking from the hotel to Symphony Hall in 0 degree [weather]. Waking up at six in the morning to eat breakfast, [too]. Those were definitely the hardest parts.

How was the overall musical experience playing with musicians at this high a level?
It’s always great because the musicians are always just so dedicated. Everyone is just so good at what they do that it makes putting things together really easy.

If you could sum up the entire trip in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Awesome.

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Q&A with MMEA All-State attendees