For one, a trip to Area All-State Band is nothing new. For another, it’s a first trip.
But either way, four Gananda Central School District students are expecting to have plenty of fun and maybe even learn a thing or two at November’s showcases for the area’s best high school musicians.
The district is sending four students overall, two to the Senior Area All-State Band event and two to the Junior Area All-State Band event. It ties the district record set in 2017.
Junior trumpet player Cadence Strausser and sophomore clarinet player Claire Dohse will participate in the Nov. 17-18 Senior event at Rush-Henrietta High School. Freshman baritone saxophonist Jos Erhardt and Mason Strausser, a seventh-grade tuba player, will be at Junior event at Batavia HS on Nov. 3-4.
“Getting to meet a ton of new people,” is the highlight for Cadence Strausser, who is making her third trip to the Area All-State event.
Claire is making her second trip to the event but the audition process, based on last spring’s New York State School Music Association Solo Festival, is hardly a breeze.
“I’ve been doing solo festival since fifth grade and I get nervous but once I’m in the (solo festival) room, it’s all good,” she said.
Erhardt’s trip to the Junior event will be her first and she’s still a bit stunned.
“I was not expecting to get in at all,” she said.
Mason Strausser wasn’t expecting much either following a solo festival performance he admits was not his best. But he was pleasantly surprised with the news that he made it, which also allows him to keep pace with older sister Cadence.
“I had to make it with my sister,” he said. “I couldn’t let her be the only one.”
At the solo festival, students perform for a judge with a prepared solo followed by a quiz on the scales and a sight-reading piece, where the musical passage is one they have not seen or had time to practice before playing in front of the judge.
Scores from the festival are then compared with students on like instruments throughout Zone 2, which includes eight counties: Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca and Wayne. The students with the highest scores are selected for Area All-State.
“This justifies all the hard work they put in,” said Aaron Strausser, music teacher at the Middle and High schools. “Sometimes, it’s hard to put into perspective when you’re playing at your own school. But when you see you’re one of the best in the region … it shows that the hard work pays off.”