The Purple and White Pawprint

Students audition for KMEA District Band at Olathe East

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Behind windows showcasing the season’s first snowfall, a cacophony of warm-ups and song fragments attested to the skill of the musicians at the Kansas Music Educators Association District Band and Orchestra Auditions last Saturday at Olathe East High School. Six LHS students auditioned: Zach Meyer and Dustyn Rizzo, sophomores, Daniel Bell, Jennifer Straub and Jerod Bond, juniors, and Molly Meigs, senior.
The competition was fierce. Students were divided into subcategories based on school size and audition for three different bands: Gold Band for 1-4A, Red Band for 5A, and Blue Band for 6A. Students were judged through blind auditions, where wind players played a major scale, a chromatic scale, a prepared piece, and a sight reading selection.
“A single wrong note could be the difference between first chair and last,” Bell said.
Daniel placed 9th chair and Jennifer Straub placed 6th chair in the trumpet section. Molly Meigs placed 6th chair with trombone. Molly has made the Gold Band for 3 years straight now, the maximum number a person is allowed to audition.
“It’s been fun,” Meigs said. “But with it being my last year, there was added pressure to make it. I’m glad I did.”
Over 1000 students auditioned total.
“When you think of all the pieces and all the musicians…there’s some really fine playing,” John Cisetti, LHS Band Director, said. “[Music teachers’] work really pays off.”
Students were not bored before and after auditions as they congregated in the gym. Students from larger schools formed spontaneous bands – sort of like flash mobs – that played popular songs. People who knew the tunes joined in with their own instruments. In the midst of the tensest competition, there was a sense of underlying comradery and a common love for music.

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Students audition for KMEA District Band at Olathe East