At the beginning of the month, auditions for the Western District Senior District Music Festival took place in Westfield, Massachusetts. Every year, the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) holds auditions for both middle school and high school students that play in a school band, orchestra, or sing in a chorus. Those selected to participate will perform with their group in either the Senior Festival in January (for ninth through twelfth graders) or the Junior Festival in March (for sixth through ninth graders). This year, there were multiple students from Mount Greylock who auditioned for the Senior Festival. Senior Hallie Anderson and sophomore Oscar Low were both accepted into ensembles that they auditioned for. They have both auditioned and participated in the festival before, so they are veterans to the process, but they have grown over the course of their district careers. They will perform on January 12 at the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
The auditions consist of students preparing pieces on their own to present to their judges, as well as a variety of scales. Each piece and set of scales is assigned ahead of time, and they are based upon which voice the student is using, which instrument they play, and which ensemble they would like to be a part of. Participants must also perform a short piece that they have never seen before, known to musicians as “sight reading.” The Echo was able to speak with Hallie Anderson about the auditions and how they are run. “You are led to a solo room and a scale room where you play in front of an adjudicator,” Anderson explained. “That night, the results are sent to the music teachers, and they will email you. I like how everything is anonymous, as each student is assigned a number so they are not influenced by who you are or where you are coming from.”
The deadline for Junior District audition materials is November 16th. For any middle school students interested in participating, speak to Mr. Moors or Mrs. Fohrhaltz for information. Auditions for the Junior Festival will be held on Saturday, December 1st, and their performance date is Saturday, March 16th. To any nervous musicians who cannot decide whether or not to try out, Anderson says, “go for it! It’s a little nerve-wracking, but that is just because I don’t like auditions! If you get in, you get the opportunity to perform with really talented people from around the district and meet a lot of nice people.”