All-State Auditions and Results

I got accepted into All-State?!

I was sitting in my third hour, working on a research paper, minding my own business, when my band director pulled me out of class. I thought I was in trouble for something. He asked me to check my email. I was very confused, as I am always on top of my email, and had received nothing of note recently. Regardless, I checked it, but nothing was there. He was just as confused as I was, but then he told me the reason he pulled me out of class. He said that it should have been in my email, but since it wasn't, he had the honor of congratulating me on getting into the MSBOA All-State Band! I was (and still am) thrilled, amazed, and unbelievably excited to have gotten in to All-State

What is All-State?

The MSBOA All-State Band is an incredibly talented group of musicians. Every high school musician across the state has the option of auditioning to be in this band. Auditions are 100% blind, with your only identifying trait being your ID Number. The judges know nothing about you, to keep the auditions anonymous. A group of judges listens to every single audition. It is a long process. About a month after auditioning, results are posted. The amount of people per instrument varies, but there are usually 3-4 Bass Clarinets, and usually 1 Contrabass Clarinet each year. I auditioned on both Bass Clarinet and Contrabass Clarinet

Audition Music

Just over 1 month before the audition, I received my All-State audition music. It consisted of two excerpts of etudes, and 5 scales (my Eb1, Ab2, G2, C1, and Chromatic F2). A very nice perk of auditioning on Bass Clarinet and Contrabass clarinet was that the etudes and scales were the same for both instruments. In case you don't know, Bass Clarinet and Contrabass Clarinet are the same fingerings. One etude was a slow, shaped etude. This one focused on excellent tone, shaping, and interpretation. None of the rhythms were very complicated, and it was only set at around 60 BPM. I liked this piece better, because I am better at shaping and tone than fast, in-depth rhythms (which makes sense, given my usual band pieces, as a low voice).

My second etude couldn't be more different. This piece was fast paced, made entirely up of sixteenth notes, and set at 110 BPM. This piece featured really high notes for me, which I struggle with (as my friends were quite quick to point out). The mix of tonguing and slurring was very tricky, and tired out my tongue really quickly (especially early on in my practicing). This piece required about quadruple the amount of practice time as the other etude, and made me really frustrated. I played this piece countless times, and the muscle memory will be seared into my brain forever.

The Audition

The big day was October 22, 2023. I left a family gathering, with my mom's minivan stuffed full. I had my Bass Clarinet, my Contrabass, as well as my Contrabass Stool. When my dad and I arrived at the school, we had to lug all of the equipment into the classroom. I was stressed out and arrived very early. When the MSBOA scheduled my auditions, they scheduled them 10 minutes apart. This was not good, as I needed around 30 minutes of warm up/practice before each audition. I arrived early in the hopes of moving one of my auditions up. Luckily, there was a slot from somebody who did not show up, and I played my Contra audition about 45 minutes earlier than scheduled.

My Contra audition was interesting, to say the least. For starters, I played the scales in the wrong order. This stressed me out a lot going into the etudes, but I took about 30 seconds to just take deep breaths and calm down. Stressing could wait. I started with the fast etude. I played the piece, but I honestly did not think I did very well. I had a few scrapes going across the break, but other than that it was decent. The second etude was very good. I was able to shape the piece immensely, which is very important. I ended my audition with sight reading. This sight reading was the same sight reading that Bass Clarinet also had, which was very nice.

I then had my audition on Bass Clarinet. My fast etude was pretty good, and my slow etude was alright. I had some trouble with the high notes in the slow etude, which was unfortunate. The sight reading was very good, having already played it once on Contra. I left feeling successful on both of them, but not sure I would make the band.

Results!

Fast forward one month. My director just gave me the results, after pulling me into the hallway. It took me a minute to process what he said. I got into All-State? It couldn't be! Since my audition, I had started to accept the fact that I most likely did not get into All-State, as there were so many people who applied. But then it hit me. I got into All-State!! I couldn't believe it. I started tearing up a little, and my director gave me a hug. After I had a minute, I asked for details. He told me that I made the All-State Band on Contrabass Clarinet, and that they only bring one Contra to All-State! This means that I am the most skilled Contra Clarinetist in the MSBOA, which includes every single high school in the entire state! That part didn't hit me until a little bit later. The whole day I was smiling. I had to make about 6 bathroom passes just to get out of class and walk around, because I couldn't sit still. I couldn't believe it!

Details

On January 27th, the MSBOA All-State Band performs in Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are 2 full days of rehearsal beforehand, with the performance at 8:45 AM on the 27th. I am so excited to make music with the most skilled musicians across the state! I don't have anybody going that I know very well, so I will mostly be on my own, but I am fine with that!