Musicians reflect on district auditions


Ann Fitzmaurice

Waking up even before the sun rises, junior Lucy Beattie prepares to leave for district band auditions in Moberly, MO. When the busses left RBHS at 7:30, Beattie said the bus ride was full of chatter and the effort to calm pre-audition nerves. When the bus parked, groups of students forced fled out the narrow doors, barely fitting their instruments through.
For Beattie, however, district auditions started long before she unloaded the bus and practiced her music in the crowded cafeteria. Last year, Beattie auditioned for district band again and was a lot less prepared, she said. This year, Beattie knew she had to step up her effort in order to get her foot in the door during auditions.
“My audition [this year] didn’t go exactly how I wanted, though it didn’t go terribly,” Beattie said. “It’s very easy to have a few minutes of bad playing and then that be your audition.”
While Beattie got second chair honorable mention band, she has still grown exponentially since last year. Beattie ended up making the jump from Symphonic band at RBHS to Wind Symphony, the highest performing band. Likewise, junior Liam Peck made a leap in chairs for district band, although he stayed in the same RBHS concert band from last year.
“Last year I got fourth chair district, and this year I moved up to third chair,” Peck said. “I moved up in placements to I’m happy with where I’m at.”
In the previous weeks, Peck prepared his pieces though amidst the RBHS chair auditions and the end of marching season. Peck placed first chair euphonium for Wind Symphony, though he took the audition for district band more seriously.
“The district auditions seem a lot more intense than the school auditions because it’s an unfamiliar environment with a lot more people than usual,” Peck said.
Beattie agreed with Peck, saying school band auditions are much shorter and less vigorous. In District band auditions, students compete with musicians from all of mid-Missouri. This year, RBHS students were more eligible to audition for district band than any other year, Wind Symphony director Steve Mathews said.
“The harder [the students work], often it pays off,” Mathews said.
Beattie understands Mathews’ point, as she started preparing on her etudes and scales in May. Beattie practiced both in her free time as well as during her private lessons. Fortunately, Beattie’s effort was worth the time, both in her leap into honorable mention and Wind Symphony.
“My hard work paid off, and I am so happy it did,” Beattie said. “I plan to audition next year, and I hope I improve once again.”