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Richardson reaches All-State Jazz Band

SUN. | 05-23-21 | NEWS

     Junior Cecilia Richardson made the NC Music Educators Association (NCMEA) All-State Jazz Band for guitar on Tuesday, Apr. 20. Among Richardson, other students auditioned including Senior William Wiand, juniors Kaedyn Ponpairoj, Nathan Jenkins, Luke Metzger and sophomore Jake Bradsher. In the state, there were 83 students auditioning for 20 spots.

     “The All-State Jazz Band is a big band ensemble, like the ones we have at Rose,” Richardson said. “It’s a 20 piece big band with saxophones, trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section.”

     Richardson was introduced to this opportunity by Rose band teachers Matthew Howard and Helen Park. 

     “This was my first time auditioning for an All-Regional and the All-State Jazz Band, and I feel really grateful to have this opportunity,” Richardson said. “This is actually my first year in the Rose jazz band because I also play in the orchestra and there can be somewhat of a schedule conflict.”

     Even though Howard and Park presented the opportunity to their students, additionally they took mentoring these students a step further. 

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Graphic by Ashley Van Havere

     “They...had us do a practice audition for a grade, where we recorded ourselves and submitted it on Canvas,” Richardson said. “That also encouraged me because they gave us individual feedback on how we could improve before the real audition.”

     To audition for All-State, a student must first place in one of the All-Regional bands. There are three regions that the NCMEA Jazz Section consists of: central, eastern, and western. Rose is organized into the eastern region.

     “Students who make certain bands at the regional level are then eligible to audition for All-State Jazz Band,” the NCMEA website said. “The directors who have students auditioning at any level are expected to serve as audition judges.”

     A huge part of the process is the clinic, where musicians meet together to rehearse under a clinician, who is hired to lead the ensemble and conduct it. The clinic will take place with virtual rehearsals on Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22. and an in-person rehearsal and concert on Sunday, May 23 at Broughton High School in Raleigh. 

     “This is supposed to be a learning experience where you are becoming a better musician and playing challenging music,” Richardson said. 

     For Richardson, the audition process for All-Regional and All-State differed from one another.

     “For high school, we had to record ourselves playing the tune “Cottontail”, which is a rhythm [that] changes tune,” Richardson said. “For the guitar audition, you first play the head of the tune and improvise on the bridge section.”

     The main challenge that she faced was the difference in skill that needed to be showcased for the All-Regional.

     “The all state audition was different from the regional in that it was a faster tempo, and this made the process of playing the music more difficult,” Richardson said. “The main challenge for me with the tempo increase was the improvisation part of the audition.”

     Even though Richardson faced a few challenges with the difference in both auditions, she is hopeful that it was a good learning experience for her moving forward.

     If you would like to know more information about the NCMEA visit their website.

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