The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

2024 All-State Musicians

Kaden Rhodes
Hazel Keithahn (12) and Alexis Doebelin (12) hold up their instruments to be played at the 2024 All-State Orchestra.

19 RBHS musicians were accepted into the 2024 All-State Ensembles this year following the auditions Dec. 2 at the University of Missouri — Columbia. 

16 band students were selected: Seniors Ainsley McCray (clarinet), Alexis Doebelin (french horn), Ajay Tosh (percussion), Brayden Boone (percussion), Colette Miller (percussion), Erica Mallott (flute), Matthew Frerking (tuba), Lucy Baker (french horn), Ruby Hord (bassoon), Tiger Li (euphonium) and Yasmine Green (piccolo), Juniors Luke Mingus (trumpet) and Zachary Jenkins (trumpet), sophomores Kelan Meyer (percussion) and Lizzie Reissieng (flute) and freshman Carter Quest (tenor saxophone). 3 orchestra students were also selected: Seniors Hazel Keithahn (violin) and Kristen Yu (viola) and junior Noah Lee (violin). 

The students underwent many auditions, which varied for band and orchestra. For band students, their auditions began with the northeast districts Nov. 6 and carried onto state. As for orchestra students, they went directly to state auditions. Two-time All-State French Hornist senior Alexis Doebelin said prepping for these auditions is a lot of work, involving endless hours of practice.

I have a very simple philosophy for auditions. If students put in the time and practice and go through the process, they become a better musician for it. They become stronger and more competent players. [Even] if they don’t make the band, they are still a better musician because of the process.”

— Patrick Sullivan, Band Director

“I had to do scale work every day so that I could memorize [them],” Doebelin said. And then I spent [a lot of time preparing] every day for weeks and weeks [in order to] perfect those [orchestral] excerpts.” 

Both band and orchestra auditions require students to play specific scales and orchestral repertoire, which are recycled every four years. The students play in the form of blind auditions, where the judges cannot see the auditioners, in order to maintain fair judging — the judges are often hidden behind black curtains or have their backs toward the auditioners. For band students, the auditions involve going through multiple rounds of auditions, known as callbacks, throughout the day. 

“They make us memorize all major and melodic minor scales,” Doebelin said. “So basically, [the judges] will call out a major, minor and chromatic scale. For prelims, they cut some of the excerpts off, [because] they only want to hear a portion of it, and then save some of the harder material for [callbacks]. [There is] sight reading as well [during callbacks].”

Even though some students are well-adjusted to auditioning, some are still new to the process. The challenges of facing nerves and the large amounts of preparation can stray students from wanting to audition. Yet, RBHS Band Director Patrick Sullivan said he always encourages students to audition, as he knows the benefits it has for students. 

“I have a very simple philosophy for auditions,” Sullivan said. “If students put in the time and practice and go through the process, they become a better musician for it. They become stronger and more competent players. [Even] if they don’t make the band, they are still a better musician because of the process.” 

Furthermore, Sullivan said getting to join the All-State ensembles and having a goal to strive for is an amazing opportunity to take advantage of. He said it is remarkable how many students he has witnessed gaining courage in their playing from the audition process alone. 

“I see a higher level of confidence in their playing kind of right away,” Sullivan said. “[Especially] if they have prepared [for the audition] and have worked really hard. There’s a confidence in what they are doing when they play, which is really cool. And that’s even before the audition happens. Students that have really put in the time and effort do start to play more confidently.” 

Orchestra students are required to go through only one round on the audition date. On the day they arrive for the weekend of All-State performances, however, chair selection is chosen based on another audition held on that day. It requires students to play sections of the selected repertoire for the All-State concert, which are revealed a couple of hours prior to the audition. Four-time All-State violinist senior Hazel Keithahn said she made the decision to audition for All-State in the beginning of her freshman year, primarily from the influence of her older musical siblings who enjoyed the experience. 

“All [of] my siblings auditioned for All-State when they were in high school and found it to be a meaningful goal to work toward,” Keithahn said. “The first round of auditions gives students a chance to work on excerpts and go through something close to professional orchestral auditions.”

Attending All-State auditions is also largely about the experiences that students can gain from it, from learning under well-known conductors to working with other excellent musicians and pushing for personal growth through the audition materials. 

“If you make it into the orchestra, you get to learn amazing music surrounded by amazing teachers and other incredible musicians from Missouri,” Keithahn said. “[I am looking forward to] making beautiful music with [those who] got in from [RBHS] and the new friends I [will] meet; I’m so excited to be roommates with Kristen Yu (four-time All-State violist) again for our last time. The pieces we were assigned are also spectacular, and I can’t wait to play them with such a skillful group.” 

The All-State performances will occur during the end of January, from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27 at Margaritaville in Lake of the Ozarks. There will also be a send-off concert prior to the All-State performances in the RBHS Performing Arts Center Jan. 16 from 7-9 p.m.. All performances are open to the public. 

“You can’t make a band that you don’t audition for,” Sullivan said. “If you don’t put yourself out there, you’re not gonna make anything. And if you want to audition for something, there’s nothing that’s stopping you.” 

Will you be attending the All-State performances or the send-off concert? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Contributors
Ema Iwasaki
Ema Iwasaki, A&E Editor
Senior Ema Iwasaki is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is a member of the National Honors Society and Spanish Honors Society. In her free time, she plays a lot of piano, travels and listens to classical music and jazz.
Kaden Rhodes
Kaden Rhodes, Staff Photographer
Junior Kaden Rhodes is a staff photographer for Southpaw and Bearing News. He loves rock climbing, weightlifting and driving.

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