Orchestra sends six of their members to All-State

Orchestra is sending six members to the All-State orchestra, up from five members last school year. Back row (left to right): first-time member, sophomore Julia Johnson (violin), second-time member, sophomore Jacob Choi (viola), and three-time member, senior Jonathan Peng (violin). Front row (left to right): second-time member, junior Nandika Chirala (violin), second-time member, senior Geethika Bonthala (violin), first-time member, freshman Jayna Yoon (violin).

Courtesy of Liberty Orchestra

Orchestra is sending six members to the All-State orchestra, up from five members last school year. Back row (left to right): first-time member, sophomore Julia Johnson (violin), second-time member, sophomore Jacob Choi (viola), and three-time member, senior Jonathan Peng (violin). Front row (left to right): second-time member, junior Nandika Chirala (violin), second-time member, senior Geethika Bonthala (violin), first-time member, freshman Jayna Yoon (violin).

Lucas Barr, Editor-In-Chief

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After months of practicing and auditions, six Redhawks have been accepted to the TMEA All-State orchestra, set to perform with fellow student musicians across the state on Feb. 15 in San Antonio.

Orchestra director and TMEA Region 24 chair Julie Blackstock explains that competing for All-State involves much more than one recording.

“Not only are they preparing All-State material, they start preparing region material on the first day of school, which is different than the All-State material,” Blackstock said. “They’re actually preparing a lot of Music all at once. Once they’ve made region they can try out for All-State, but before even they record you have to go through a preliminary round.”

Returning for her second year of All-State, violinist, junior Nandika Chirala has seen the audition process help her grow as a musician.

“This year my practice for All-State started this past May when the All-State etudes came out,” Chirala said. “It was a good learning process for me to go through so many auditions, and I definitely feel like I improved because of it. I’m most excited to be able to play a really high standard of literature at All-State. The four days we spend at All-State are really intensive, but the end result is so incredible and I’m looking forward to going through that rehearsal experience again, and getting to spend time with my friends while playing violin.”

Feeling pressure to make it to San Antonio again, two-time All-State violinist, senior Geethika Bonthala is excited to return.

“I was relieved when I did find out that I made it again,” Bonthala said. “It’s kind of like meeting the standard you’ve already set for yourself, which was nice and I think it’s gonna be fun getting to play with them again. I think it’s just fun getting to rehearse with such a high caliber orchestra and playing really cool music.”

Blackstock recognizes All-State as an unmatched opportunity for high school musicians in Texas.

“Being selected, I know is a tremendous honor for them,” Blackstock said. “It’s a lot of hard work, but I think most of them feel it’s worth it because you’re down there with all these other kids and band kids and choir kids from all over the state of Texas, and you get to be some of the best of the best down there.”