The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

NEWS: Dozens of Orchestra Students Prepare for State

Free State’s orchestra program recently attended auditions for state where 11 members were selected along with one alternate on the harp.
Collected from Angie Chen
Free State orchestra students pose after auditioning for State Orchestra on Jan 13.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 21 orchestra members attended state auditions. The results came back soon after; 11 students from Free State were selected to play and one was selected as an alternate on the harp. Each individual blindly auditioned in front of a panel of judges using excerpts from the Kansas Music Educators Association website. To be eligible to audition for state, players had to first audition and be selected for the district orchestra on Dec. 2.

Alongside academic commitments, extracurriculars, and practicing the music they got in class, finding time to prepare was difficult.

“I had to sacrifice or plan out my time and get a few less hours of sleep so I could practice,” Junior Lois Xie said.

To ease preparation stress, orchestra director Heather Madgwick selected pieces used at state and district for Chamber Orchestra auditions. The stress, planning, and practicing are difficult, but players handle it flawlessly.

“We have some very motivated students, which I think is a huge ingredient to success” Madgwick said.

This is Madgwick’s first year as a high school orchestra teacher; she was previously the orchestra director at West Middle School. Coming into a new group with different dynamics is challenging; however, Free State Orchestra has created a very welcoming environment.

Attending state auditions and performances helps to grow the program in numerous ways. It’s a chance to showcase what Free State can do as an ensemble and individually. It can also showcase just how many members are playing at a higher level.

“For district, we all usually wear our orchestra t-shirts during that day just to show that the amount of people coming from Free State is very significant and that we have a strong orchestra program,” Xie said.

This is nowhere near the end of the season for the orchestra. They are currently working on a small ensemble concert. Coming up, they will be performing at a large ensemble festival and embarking on a trip to New York.

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