Fourteen qualify for All-County orchestra

Despite weather-related challenges and setbacks, several orchestra members have begun practicing for their All-County performance scheduled for January.

“With Hurricane Nicole that came in, [All-County] has me a little nervous right now because right after Thanksgiving break, we have seven rehearsals,” orchestra director Melaine Richardson said.

Fourteen middle- and high-school students were notified on Nov. 17 that they has made the All-County orchestra based on auditions held in October. The list includes Daniella Fassman, Fern Weaver, Presley Haney, David Amador, Raaha Sellamuthu, Joseph Konathapally, Alma Wise, Suhina Mitra, Nia Samuels, Peyton Haney, Arvin Navarroza, Enzo Savage, Shupang Xu and Emily Marshall.

Richardson said she was “astonished” by the number of her students who were accepted.

“Take into consideration the numbers [of students] between the different schools,” she said. “At West Shore, we have 14 All-County students. Mel-High, which is essentially double our size, has 10 students.” 

By performing a set of randomly chosen scales and pieces, as well as excerpts they’ve practiced of their own, orchestra students auditioned for a seat to advance towards All-County.  

One of which, sophomore Enzo Savage said that while he feels nervous, he’s looking forward to the performance.

“I feel like as an orchestra, even though the pieces are going to be hard, I feel like we’re prepared with all the practices and the days that we put in,” Savage said. “We’re going to be fully ready.” 

Orchestra has three different levels, the lowest being concert, intermediate symphonic and the highest level chamber. Each level is based on skill and experience, and competition pieces are selected based on the difficulty and skill of the students.

“The pieces looked pretty difficult, if I’m going to be honest, so I’m going to have to practice a bit, but I’m excited,” said junior Shupang Xu, who is a cello player in chamber orchestra. 

Each student is required to audition for the reseating in All-County. Sophomore Suhina Mitra said this made her anxious.

“I was really nervous, but I was also pretty confident that I would do well because I’ve been practicing all summer,” she said. “We have a bunch of rehearsals leading up to the final performance, so we’ll be OK.”

All-County is set to take place on Jan. 28 at The King Center. Originally, Hurricane Nicole had canceled a few of the orchestra practices leading up to All-County, which would have placed more pressure and limitations on preparations. Yet, Richardson has faith in her students. 

“I know that they will come through and that they will put some time into practicing over Thanksgiving break, so then once we get back it’s just, hitting the ground running and perfecting those pieces,” Richardson said. “It’s quick, but they’re doing great. I get on them when they don’t practice, but they come through. And when they come through, they are just amazing.”

By Sofia Palermo