Everyone always sees the pictures of star high school athletes who have made the elite “All-State” selection in the sports page of the Providence Journal. What I would like to inform everyone of is the equally elite all-state for music students.
Students involved in chorus, band, or orchestra have the opportunity to audition in front of a judge with a prepared song that they have been rigorously rehearsing for weeks. In addition to performing the song for the judge, singers must prove their abilities in sight-singing and tonal memory, and band and orchestra students must perform a solo as well as play memorized scales and sight-read a piece. Musicians are graded on their performance, and receive a score out of 70 possible points.Based on their scores, they are then ranked in order of ability.
A small percentage of the hundreds who audition are selected to be in the All-State Chorus, Band or Orchestra. There is a junior division for all students in grades 7 to 9, and a senior division for grades 10 to 12. This year 52 students from North Kingstown High School were selected, and six students were ranked number one in all of Rhode Island. There were seven students from Wickford Middle School, and four from Davisville Middle. North Kingstown, because of its strong music programs, has always had a large number of musicians performing at the all-state concert, which takes place in March.
Those selected to be all-state musicians must attend several rehearsals throughout the year leading up to the concert which is performed at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Providence. Before the rehearsals even start, however, the music is sent out and it is expected to be learned before the first rehearsal. At the first rehearsal, chorus students are tested on the music to make sure they practiced. Those who are not prepared are asked to leave. The strict rules and high expectations for those selected for all-state guarantee a five-star performance at the concert. The pieces performed are always challenging and entertaining, and the students put on quite a show.
So let’s give three cheers for the musicians who have been practicing for months, and who will continue to practice into March to fulfill their tremendous accomplishment!