Young musicians fare well at state conference

Performers were selected via auditions

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Several Papermakers and Panthers put their musical talents to work at the Washington Music Educators Association conference recently.

The event, held Feb. 14 to 16 in Yakima, included a 300-voice symphonic choir, 200-piece concert band, 250-piece symphony orchestra and 65-piece chamber orchestra.

Students were selected to perform in the all-state groups based on auditions, which included thousands of entries.

The students rehearsed for three days, culminating in a gala performance. The all-state band concert program was held at Eisenhower High School, all-state orchestra at the Capitol Theatre and the all-state choral concert program at the Yakima Convention Center.

Camas High School participants included: Phoebus Tsai, freshman, (concert band, French horn), Amanda Felipe, senior, (symphony orchestra, principal flute), Rachel Smith, senior, (symphonic choir, soprano two), Ryann Bruno, senior, (symphonic choir, soprano two), John Neumann, freshman, (symphony orchestra, tuba), Rebecca Fitzgerald, senior, (symphonic choir, soprano two), Thomas Matthews, junior, (symphonic choir, tenor one) and Isaac Hodapp, sophomore, (chamber orchestra, principal trumpet).

Fitzgerald referred to it as a “family experience.”

“Even though it was such a huge choir, everyone put their whole heart and soul into each piece,” she said.

Hodapp appreciated the opportunity to try something different.

“It was awesome to play in an orchestra, which we don’t have here at CHS,” he said.

Added Felipe, “It was a great learning experience to play with so many great musicians.”

Richard Mancini, CHS band teacher, noted that the students had the opportunity to work with well-known conductors.

“They got to play and sing some quality pieces that most high-schoolers never get to attempt,” he said. “I know it was a fantastic experience for them, and we’re very proud of the way they represented Camas High School.”

Added Ethan Chessin, choir teacher.

“I was very proud of the six CHS choir students and four CHS band students who made it into Washington All-State ensembles. I’m always impressed by the talent level in those groups and I can tell that the competition is intense. My students always come back from these experiences with high standards for their ensembles at CHS and terrific insights into the rehearsal process.”

WHS sends seven students

The Panthers also have their share of musical talent. Seven students were selected to take part in the WMEA all-state groups.

Students submitted vocal and instrumental audition recordings and competed against thousands for placement in the honor groups. They included seniors Nick Stevens, Sonja Adams, Zoe West, Allix Fisher, Bret Wade. Mac Wright and Austin Smith-Brown. Stevens and Fisher participated in the wind symphony, while Wright, Adams, Wade and Smith-Brown participated in the symphonic choir. West was selected for the treble choir.

“Being accepted into an all-state honor group is another opportunity for our student musicians to experience rehearsing and performing at a superior level with other motivated high school musicians from around the state,” said Jen Mahorney, choir teacher. “They bring their improved musicianship home with them and share new strategies with their school choir members.”