Competition proves tough for All-State band


Emily Dubec-Hunter

Outside the band room, freshman Jake Bursk practices his flute.

Earning a spot in the All-State band is no easy feat. For the second year in a row, no advanced band or Wind Ensemble musicians were selected for the elite middle and high school bands. Ten musicians auditioned for the 2013-2014 All-State band, playing instruments such as flute, trumpet, clarinet and saxophone. In previous years, alumni, including clarinetist Jack Goffinet and oboist  Dylan Morrongiello, were selected for the band almost every year.

Band Director Carol Allen said the All-State results were a bit unexpected.

“I’m a little surprised,” Allen said. “But I also know how hard it is to make All-State. I’ve gotten used to [Morrongiello] and [Goffinet] always making it, so I kind of took it for granted.”

The All-State band is made up of the most talented high school musicians in Florida.  The auditioners are from throughout the state, which is why acceptance into it has been so elusive for many, including eighth-grader Colin P., who auditioned for his second time after becoming first chair trumpet in the middle school All-County band in 2012.

“[The audition] was out of the whole state,” he said. “After my audition, I didn’t [think I would make All-State] because I messed up on my scales.”

Allen said schools that focus mainly on academics often have a more difficult time raising musicians to the caliber of students at schools where the focus is primarily on music.

“There’s schools that put all their focus on music,” Allen said. “Several schools in Florida give their students free private lessons at school, and they end up taking all the spots.”

Allen also noted that students in schools centered on academics often put other activities before music.

“Most people at West Shore that have the talent to make All-State are too busy to practice with academics,” Allen said. “There are a lot of people with potential but couldn’t make the time commitment for it. [Students] have to keep trying out to get used to the audition process.”

Allen added that many of the top tier musicians in the wind ensemble and advanced band play flute, which is the most competitive instrument to make any honors band on.

“It is almost impossible to make All-State if you’re a flute player,” Allen said, adding that not many flutists are chosen for the band.

Some musicians, like Colin, will continue honing their skills and audition for All-State again.

“Hopefully, I can make it next year,” he said.