Students audition for District Band and Orchestra

Most students were leaving the high school at 6 am this morning after Mini-THON. However, a few students were arriving at the school at 6 am this morning for an entirely different reason. After loading up a school van with various oddly shaped bags and then cramming themselves inside along with two teachers, eight high school students traveled about an hour to Dallastown High School.
Every year, district band and orchestra auditions are held at Dallastown. The group from L-S was smaller than usual; it included Melissa Long (violin), Nathan Tobler (viola), Megan Doolittle (trumpet), Conner Shelton (tuba), Justina Keller (clarinet), Hannah Hess (string bass), Sam Welk (percussion), and Alyssa Van Lenten (oboe). All but one student had auditioned previously.
Stress levels were high as auditions began around 8:00. L-S band director Mr. Royer and orchestra director Mr. Shaubach only chaperoned the students as far as getting inside the building. After that, they reported to their assigned rooms to judge students’ auditions.
Students line up in the hallway with their respective instruments, and proceed through a series of several rooms. In the first, students perform three scales. In the next two, students perform two sections from a solo that was announced in June. The scales and the sections are announced the day of the auditions.
Auditionees included, from Back L, Conner Shelton, Nathan Tobler, Melissa Long, Justina Keller, Alyssa Van Lenten, Megan Doolittle, and Sam Welk; Missing from photo: Hannah Hess
Orchestra auditions also include a sight reading section, and percussion auditions are more complicated, involving several instruments and scoring areas.
“It’s hard to go through 4 months of preparation [for just one day]” says Megan Doolittle, who has auditioned all four years in high school, making the cut her sophomore year.
In order to cope with the anxiety, some kids bring a special food, like clementines, and some have special rituals. L-S students are known for their motivational stickers.
Scores are released several hours later, after all the results are recorded. During the intermediate time, students play games, work on homework, and socialize. Even students from different schools recognize each other and form friendships.
“It was nice to see some friends I made last year,” notes Melissa Long.
Melissa will be one of the four students attending next year along with, Justina, and Nathan, unless anyone else decides to take on the challenge. Trying out is a great experience, even if not everyone makes it to districts. From L-S, Sam Welk, made the cut for the third straight year and Justina Keller was selected for the first time in her three years of auditions. In orchestra, both Melissa Long and Hannah Hess were selected. Those students will have the opportunity to perform in the District Orchestra festival at L-S in January! The other students felt relatively good about their auditions, and were all very supportive of each other. Overall, the day was a long, but positive one.

--Alyssa Van Lenten, Local Editor

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