Schreiber music students selected as All-State musicians

Students awarded for showing exceptional talent in music

Natalia Becsak, Contributing Writer

This year, five students have been selected as either participants or alternates at the annual All-State music ensemble.  The students received a letter from the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) notifying them of this honor.  Junior violinist Lois Kim was the only musician selected to perform in an ensemble and will perform in the String Ensemble at the Winter Conference, and the four chosen alternates are senior cellist Aaron Goldstein, senior flutist Sherry Shi, and junior violinists Lucas Romanski and Maya Leong.  

Although the alternates will not be able to perform at the ensemble, all of these student musicians were recognized for their hard work and dedication to their respective instruments.  

“All-State is a great way to challenge young musicians and to experience an environment where everyone is as passionate for music as you are,” said Leong.  

The Winter Conference will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 and includes eight different orchestras that will perform challenging pieces for an audience consisting of their friends and family.  Jazz, String, and Choral ensembles are all included in the concert, which gives talented musicians the opportunity to perform in a variety of areas.

Each chosen musician had to meet a number of criteria in order to qualify.  For their audition, the candidates were expected to play a number of scales from memory, sight-read a piece, and perform a Level VI soloist piece alongside an accompanist.  

The judges are very particular, so every musician was held to the highest standard when it came to their articulation, tone, and dynamics.  

“Every little detail counts,” said Concert Band instructor Mr. Shane Helfner.   Even though they performed in front of only one judge, the auditioning process was still anxiety-producing for some students.  The candidates put immense pressure on themselves to surpass the other musicians they were up against.  

“Before my audition I was really nervous because I was worried about whether I was going to mess up or not,” said Kim.  

However, once the audition came around, they were able to calm their nerves in order to perform to their best potential.  

“I perform the best when I’m relaxed, so rather than worrying about being nervous, I kept telling myself not to waste the efforts I put into preparing for this by being nervous,” said Shi.   

Once the auditions were completed, the selection process began.  Each student who received a 98 or above on their NYSSMA audition would be considered.  Those who received a one hundred were automatically chosen as alternates.  

The Selection Committee then determined whether each student would be a participant or alternate based on recommendations, participation in other music groups, secondary school record, past scores on NYSSMA Solo performances, involvement in last year’s All-State, and lastly, the zone which they represent.  Last spring, only 13% of the candidates were accepted, making this a highly competitive honor.  

Those who play popular musical instruments, such as the flute or violin, have an even slimmer chance of making it into this program because they face more competitors of equal talent and ability.  

By late August, acceptance letters were released.

“When I got the letter I was ecstatic.  The letter represented what I had accomplished, which helped me realize that all that practice was worth it,” said Kim.  

Being in All-State is a true honor, and all recipients of this honor and are immensely proud of what they have done.  All-State also allows for students to be exposed to the music world outside of high school.  

“All-State is a great experience because it’s a nice to have students from all over the state put together a performance,” said Mr. Helfner.  “It’s some of the best students in the district, and when they come together it opens their eyes to the other talent that’s around them in New York State.”  

“Before my audition I was really nervous because I was worried about whether I was going to mess up or not,””

— said junior Lois Kim