Music students perform at All-State level

Stacey Kim and Sally Kuan, Staff Writers

This year, three students were invited to perform at the annual All-State Conference. Each year, the New York State School Music Association, or NYSSMA, organizes the musical conference, where over 7,000 students from all over the country audition for 890 positions in eight All-State ensembles.  This event is held between late November and early December.  Seniors Halam Kim and Minah Kim, and junior Ethan Usoskin competed on Nov.  29 and Dec. 2.

These students were selected from among those in the state who scored 100 on the NYSSMA solo examination last spring.  From there, they were chosen from among all of the students who auditioned throughout the entire state.  Students auditioned with level 6 pieces from the NYSSMA manual and they needed a recommendation from the director of their music ensemble.  Once they arrived at the conference in Rochester, they each had to audition for the seating within the orchestra, chorus, or band.

Once the students were accepted to participate in the All-State Conference, they began to practice with music that was sent to them by mail.

“It should be noted that All-State music is some of the most challenging and rewarding music to prepare and perform,” said band teacher Mr. Mark Brenner.  “This program seemed to maintain the consistent high standards of NYSSMA All-State festivals.”

Usoskin placed first chair, first clarinet in the entire symphonic band.  He had a very long solo in addition to a cadenza in one of the performed selections.  In addition to his selection to the All-State festival,  Usoskin will go on to participate in the All-Eastern performing ensemble, which will perform this spring in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Basically, Ethan was considered the best clarinetist in the state,” said choir instructor Mr. John Spiezio III.  “We are very proud of these three musicians.”

Senior Minah Kim who went to All-State for flute was also in the symphonic band. Senior Halam Kim performed viola as part of the Symphonic Orchestra.

“Last year I was in String Ensemble which is a smaller group.  I really liked being in a large, full orchestra this year.  Rehearsals were really tiring, but I enjoyed the experience and the performance,” said senior Halam Kim.

The students worked with renowned All-State Symphonic Band and All-State Symphony Orchestra conductors Mr. Anthony Maiello and Mr. Kenneth Kiesler in an ensemble with the top musicians from last spring’s NYSSMA solo festival.  There were also five vocalists from Port Washington selected as alternates for All-State.  Seniors Julia Bain, Laura DeBruin, Gisella Snailer and juniors Amelia Pacht and Emily Weinstein were selected as alternate vocalists for All-State.

Students rehearsed in their respective ensembles for over 8 hours every day.  During breaks in between performances, students socialized and went to a symposium with booths from music conservatories and instrument companies. Students had the opportunity to try out instruments and speak to admissions officers from prospective schools.  After three days of rigorous rehearsal, the ensembles performed at Eastman Hall.

“I, and all the teachers, are extremely proud of all musicians, and their representation at All-State is a positive reflection of their achievement and the quality of the music program at Schreiber High School,” said Mr. Spiezio.