West is home to much success over the years and has recently welcomed even more with 11 members of the music program being accepted into All-State Band and Orchestra.
Students in the Missouri All-State Band and Orchestra are Stephanie Richardson, Patrick Hu, Maddie Balsman, Brett Barger, Samantha Asel, Jillian Kirkpatrick, Colton Sharp, Kinady Allen, Maddie Hogan, Emory Thurmond, and Allyson Jenkins.
Junior Samantha Asel made the All-State Orchestra on bass, which she plays in the Lee’s Summit West Philharmonic Orchestra. Asel said she had been working for this audition since May when she got the music to begin practicing with.
“It was just kind of like gratifying cause I’ve worked for five months on it,” Asel said. “It was just really nice to know that like my hard work does pay off.”
Band teacher Clifton Thurmond said that having so many students make All-State will hopefully help encourage the younger students to reach to the same heights.
“I think it’s just like anything that has an all-state level to it, a sport, debate,” Thurmond said. “When we have students reach that level, it develops a culture that of excellence that pushes others that come behind them.”
Another student who reached state level is senior Kinady Allen. For Allen, this will be her second year as first chair bassoon for the All-State band.
Allen said that for her audition this year, despite feeling self-imposed pressures to make the first chair for a second year, her goal was to show who she was as a bassoonist rather than to strictly audition.
“I was just going there to play,” Allen said. “My private teacher told me that I need to go in there and play like I love playing the bassoon, and I do love playing the bassoon, but sometimes, because of auditions, you get so nervous that you play like you were just like ‘Oh my gosh I don’t know what to do.’”
In order to audition for the state-level band or orchestra, one must first audition and make the district-level band or orchestra. Asle said that one of the differences between a district audition and a state audition is how you are expected to play the music given to you.
“For districts, they want you to play it just as it’s written,” Asel said. “For state, they want you to take your own take on it and elaborate, choose your own musicality to it rather than just straight music.”
Asel said that the way she prepared for to more open state audition was to find several versions of the song she was playing and listen until she found ones she liked.
“I just listened to every single recording and found my favorite take on it and just improvise with each thing and eventually found the one that spoke to me most,” Asel said.
Junior Brett Barger has been auditioned for All-State band twice before, and is the third chair clarinet in this years state band.
“Well, this is my third time doing it,” said Barger, “So I’ve done it before, but it’s still always nerve racking. It’s a lot of preparation.”
Allen said that this was the first year she felt confident in her audition, as in previous years her nerves would sometimes cause her to rush or not play as well as she can.
For her audition this year, Allen said her goal was to perform and to think of it as a performance rather than an audition, which she said she feels she accomplished.
“That’s why I play the bassoon,” Allen said. “You perform for people and hope they enjoy it. That’s the goal.”