Two Seniors Selected for Prestigious All-State Band

T. Alper

Elizabeth Lenczowski

Two Miramonte seniors were selected for the California Band Directors Association’s All-State High School Honor Band, announced Sunday, Jan. 3.

The two selected students, Erin Walsh and Sunaina Kale, had to audition to be considered for this group of talented musicians.

“You send in a CD of yourself playing the scales and excerpts of pieces that the directors of the honor band require,” said Kale. “This is different for each instrument.”

According to Rick Meyer, the Symphonic Band teacher, it took the students all semester to prepare their pieces for the audition CD, which was due just before Thanksgiving break. The applicants are judged based on intonation, tone, rhythm, technique, interpretation, balance, and overall performance.

“They did all the hard work,” said Meyer. “I just helped them finalize their applications.”

More than 1600 students from across California applied for the honor band this year, including four students from Miramonte.

“It is highly competitive,” said Meyer. “But we usually have somebody who gets picked.”

Walsh and Kale are an integral part of the Symphonic Band at Miramonte, practicing daily during second period.

“Erin is the section leader for the clarinets,” said Meyer. “And Sunaina is the oboe player; she has all the solos.”
The applicants are competing with the most talented students from all over California, so it is evident that Walsh and Kale are top-notch muscians.

“In order to get in this band, you have to be incredibly talented,” said Meyer. “[Walsh and Kale] are obviously at the very top.”

Three hundred students are selected and divided into the concert band, symphonic band, and the wind ensemble.  There are two different conferences of honor bands: one on Feb. 18-21 in Fresno that Walsh and Kale will attend, and the other on March 11-13 in Sacramento. The bands meet for four days, where they will first endure a live, blind audition.  This entails playing for judges behind a screen, to prevent bias. A couple 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. rehearsals lead up to a free, afternoon performance at the Saroyan Concert Hall in Fresno.

“The rehearsals are intense,” said Walsh, a six-year veteran of the All-State Bands, who was selected when she was first eligible for the Junior High School All-State Honor Band in seventh grade.

Walsh has studied the clarinet for almost nine years and has taught herself to play soprano saxophone this year for 0 Period Jazz Band. Also an avid lacrosse player, Walsh appreciates the diversity that music brings to her life.

“My favorite part about playing the clarinet and music in general, is that it allows me to express myself in ways that other activities can’t,” said Walsh.  “It brings out a totally different side of me which I love!”

Kale has played the oboe for about three years and is a first-time member of the All-State Band. She also plays the piano and saxophone.

Be sure to catch Walsh and Kale in the Symphonic Band’s next performance, at the All Orinda Band Festival on March 31 in the Miramonte Gym.