Six students were accepted in the Santa Clara County Honors Band, “one of the finest of the country,” according to Instrumental Music Director Ted Ferrucci.
Around 200 to 300 students from Santa Clara County auditioned for the band, and only around 80 to 90 are accepted each year.
“[The County Honor Band] is up with all-state-level bands,” Ferrucci said. “We have students which make the All-State Band, but not the County Honors Band—it’s that good.”
Students who got in are sophomores Alexie Ogonowsky, Audun Johnson and David Kay, junior Mark Cuson, and seniors Scott Zimmerman and Johan Mickos.
Audun said that he practiced “one hour everyday” for two weeks, and Scott said that he practiced for “several months” before auditions.
Even with the practice, students said they met plenty of competition at the auditions, which were held on Friday, December 11.
“When I went to the audition, there were about 40 alto saxophones,” Audun said. “It was actually pretty intimidating, because everyone was pretty good.”
The Santa Clara County Honor Band has a different guest collegiate conductor every year. According to Ferrucci, this year’s is Ryan Nelson, the Associate Director of Bands at Northwestern University.
Past conductors have been from Oregon, University of Texas, Northridge, Northwestern University, San Jose State and the University of Washington. They are “just the top directors” according to Ferrucci.
“It’s pretty exciting, just the atmosphere of it all,” said Audun, who got first chair alto saxophone. “You’re surrounded by people that are a lot better than you or just as good, so the band itself excels at a pretty high pace.”
Ferrucci called this year “a pretty good year” and said “we’ve got a lot of really fine students,” but he also noted that LAHS has sent around 14 to 16 students to the County Honor Band in the past.
“I’m trying to get more student auditions,” Ferrucci said. “We have six or eight more in the ensemble that didn’t audition this year, and if they had shown up they would have gotten in. My hope is that we can use this to get students to audition because we have the musicians to have a bigger percentage in the ensemble.”
However, Ferrucci did note that “there are a lot more sophomores this year.”
“Typically the auditions are juniors and seniors,” Ferrucci said. “And we happen to have a strong sophomore class.”
The County Honor Band will be performing next weekend on Sunday, January 17 at 2 p.m. at Saratoga High School with a small admission at the door, according to Ferrucci.
“They’ll be performing three pieces,” Ferrucci said. “’Ballad for Band’ by Morton Gould. ‘Krump,’ which is a kind of funky new piece, by Scott McAllister. … and a new piece by Jennifer Higdon.”
Alexie, who got first chair bass clarinet, said that the music is “really cool and modern.”
“We’re loud,” she said.