A version of this article appeared on print in our January 2017 issue.
After hours and hours of strenuous choral and instrumental practice and preparation, only the best will be chosen to perform at the Senior District Festival at the Boston Latin High School.
On November 19, students from several different schools throughout the whole Eastern districts traveled to Milton High School to audition for the Senior Districts. Senior Districts is a chance for singers and instrumentalists to audition for a place at the Senior District Festival.
“Senior Districts is a cool experience where you get to play with advanced musicians from different places and I guess meet new people, learn new things,” said clarinet player Kathleen Segal `19. “districts are a great experience to not only meet new people, but to come together as a performing arts community to play challenging and usually fun repertoire,” said violinist Joy Miao `19.
Senior Districts pushes all student musicians to prepare and refine not only their skills, but also their mentality to the extreme. Although Senior Districts auditions are a place for students to display their skills, there is a lot of competition. “You don’t when you are going to get called up to audition because they tend to be late, so you don’t know how much to warm-up or when or when to stop warming up either. And then you’re surrounded by all these good players and it’s hard not to get intimidated or freaked out,” said Segal.
Additionally, auditions are especially difficult for Wellesley students, due to their placement in the Eastern districts. “The Eastern district – ours is the most competitive and the most selective. It tends to be the best players because they are coming from the best conservatories,” said percussionist Maia Foley `19.
In the choral department, department head Dr. Kevin Macdonald strongly recommends that students audition for Senior Districts as it serves as a learning experience to growing musicians.
“We spend a lot of class time preparing to give everyone an equal chance of getting to go to the auditions. He does everything he can to help everyone in the audition process,” said singer Peter Hodge `18.
Compared to regular class, Senior Districts provides a much better atmosphere for musicians. “I love playing with the larger band. You can change the dynamics a lot more, [create] a more dramatic crescendo and diminuendo. Playing with a large low brass and wind section is great because it makes the sound a lot more richer and deeper; it makes us sound a lot better,” said Segal.
“It’s a different standard. Our wind ensemble is very good, but Senior Districts is rounding up all the best players,” said Foley.
Although Senior Districts can be mentally exhausting, for all musicians it is a fantastic and memorable learning experience. “Senior districts is a learning experience because it puts you in a room full of people who are different and often better than you. You learn different techniques and styles from all the musical backgrounds of the people who are there. It’s like a melting pot of talent and inspiration.” said Hodge.