Four audition for All-State Band

Austin Combs

Making Florida’s All-State Band is no easy task. Bass trombone player Robert Edmiston and flutists Nicole Marmol, Ethan Miles and Kevin Baylen recently auditioned and are anxiously awaiting the results, schedued to be announced around Nov. 1. Thousands of students from across Florida try out for one of four groups — seventh and eighth grades, ninth and 10th grades, 11th and 12th grades and Jazz Band.

Last year,  Dylan Morrongiello and Jack Goffinet — who both graduated in May —  earned a spot in this prestigious band.

West Shore Band Director Carol Allen has a theory on why Florida All-State is so difficult to make.

“Florida is second only to Texas in competitiveness for All-State band,” Allen said. “They are choosing only the best out of a state that has the best bands in the United States.”

Members of the All-State Band, sponsored by the Florida Bandmasters Association, are chosen through a rigorous audition process, which requires applicants to perform two excerpts, one lyrical and the other technical, 12 scales and a chromatic scale. In addition, they must play a piece for the first time to exhibit their sight-reading ability.

Edmiston said he felt he did “OK” in his audition in September at Edgewood Jr. /Sr. High School.

“The sight-reading wasn’t too hard,” the senior said.

Preparing for the audition is a whole other story. Students who audition for All-State receive the music from their band directors in early May, and practice throughout the summer. But even with practice, making the band is a big challenge for many.

Marmol, also a senior, said she hopes she’ll be selected this year, but has realistic expectations.

“You have to be near perfect to make it,” Marmol said. “I think I did pretty well, but it’s difficult to get in.”

Similar to many other auditions these musicians have encountered, nerves sometimes can play a significant part in how well they perform. But for Edmiston and Marmol, that wasn’t the case this time.

“I just told myself that I wouldn’t make the band anyway,” Edmiston said.

“I wasn’t as nervous as I usually am,” Marmol said.

The All-State Band festival will take place Jan. 9 -12 in Tampa.

By Katie Garwood