Though it began as a hobby for senior Audun Johnson, playing the saxophone has grown into an activity that has opened doors to friendships and a unique creative collaboration.
“Music is wonderful because it exists in a variety forms,” Audun said. “It’s purely collaborative, since every individual contributes to the whole. It’s unique in that there isn’t another activity that makes something melodic out of everyone’s individual effort.”
Branching out from the school’s music department, Audun decided to further pursue his passion this year by trying out for the All-State bands: concert band, symphonic band and wind symphony.
The acceptance process requires students to record a selective piece, along with five or six chosen scales. Adjudicators evaluate the individual CD recordings. From about 1,600 student submitted recordings this year, roughly 150 to 200 were accepted into the All-State bands.
Along with Audun, who joined the wind symphony, senior Alexie Ogonowsky was also accepted.
The All-State conference will take place from Thursday, February 16 to Sunday, February 19 in Fresno, where adjudicators will evaluate the students to determine seat placement in the bands. While Thursday is reserved for these auditions, the students will spend the entire Friday and Saturday playing, only stopping for a bite to eat or sleep.
The final concert of the conference takes place on Sunday afternoon. Students will spend the rest of the day working on next year’s audition piece.
The conference lives up to its selectivity by providing a multitude of opportunities for music enthusiasts to explore the realm of professional music.
“It flies by pretty quickly [but] the main thing I get from this experience is the opportunity to meet some outstanding musicians, both student and adult alike,” Audun said.
Jerry Junkin, who works at the University of North Texas and was a past conductor of the Hong Kong Wind Philharmonia, worked with the wind symphony last year. Audun enjoyed interacting with him, and hopes the same for this year’s conference.
“I can’t wait to get back out to Fresno and meet some great musicians and friends,” Audun said.