The Music for All Blog
The Music for All Blog
 

This is the forty-eighth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

SophiaM

Name: Sophia Motai

Hometown: Alpine, NJ

School Name: Tenafly High School

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I applied for this wonderful opportunity to achieve two goals. One is that I would like to challenge my potential as a fine violinist by playing with other good musicians from all over the country. The other is that I would like to become an independent and responsible young adult. This is a perfect opportunity for me to open myself up to a new environment and people. I believe it will be a precious experience for me to create and share music together in the ensemble.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. I’ve learned that you play best when you focus and get into the music.
2. I’ve also learned that the conductor is your friend, and that they will help cue you in so watch carefully.
3. Finally, I learned that orchestra is not about you; it’s about everyone as a whole performing as one.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
When Larry talked about his experience with music and life at the reception after the final concert, I was inspired and appreciated the whole experience at this national music festival.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I am involved in the chamber group and occasionally perform for elderly people at nursing homes and senior centers. I also belong to the acapella club and sing in concerts at school and outside of school. In the spring, I play softball.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I highly recommend “1984” by George Orwell, which gave me deep insight into human beings and society.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Antonin Dvorak Symphony No 8. in G Major

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Green Tea

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy reading and watching “TED Talks”. I also like to play pool and ping-pong with my family and friends.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Just keep trying and looking forward.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I would like to study psychology at college and also study abroad to widen my views.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I have been struggling with myself internally and find it difficult to build a good relationship with others, but this experience made me realize that I don’t have to fear starting new relationships and I can live my life with the purpose of finding true happiness.

SophiaM2SophiaM3

This is the forty-seventh installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

MaddieH

Name: Madison Hansen

Hometown: Biloxi, MS

School Name: Biloxi High School

Instrument: Clarinet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I heard about the Honor Band of America a few years ago while browsing the web, but never imagined I could ever be accepted into the group. It wasn't until I was selected to perform with the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band that I believed the goal was at all obtainable. I am very honored to be accepted into this prestigious ensemble and am looking forward to the experience.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
Band has definitely taught me a lot about working with others for a common goal, time management, and how to set short-and long-term goals for myself.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
About a year ago I had the privilege to play under the baton of Frank Ticheli at a local honor band. At our first rehearsal, we read through his piece "Rest." It was truly amazing to see how passionate he was about his music and to see the emotion he put into his conducting. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments I've had in my music career.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
At school I am a very active member of the Key Club where I serve as club president. I also serve as the lieutenant governor of my division for Key Club. I am always busy with a service project, and I love doing things for my school and community.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I am a very big fan of the Harry Potter series and I highly recommend it to anyone.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
As a musician this is a tough question! Some of my favorite pieces include Elgar's Cello Concerto and Dvorak's Ninth Symphony.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
When I'm not rehearsing or performing, I love to spend time with my friends and family.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
I would advise a friend who needs inspiration or motivation to change their perspective on life and look for the good things that have brought them to this point in their life and to be thankful.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
After graduating high school I will attend the University of Southern Mississippi to major in music performance with pre-medical requirements. I one day hope to be an OBGYN and play actively in many local ensembles.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I am the first person ever from my school to attend the Honor Band of America.

This is the forty-sixth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

AnnaD

Name: Anna Dorey

Hometown: New Port Richey, FL

School Name: J.W. Mitchell H.S.

Instrument: French Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I heard about it from my friend who did the Jazz Band of America and I thought it would be really fun to try.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Always be at least 20 minutes early to a rehearsal, class, or literally anything.
2. Music can inspire anyone, even those who don't normally listen to it.
3. If you love music, keep it in your life.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in band was when my band went to a competition in Atlanta. We didn't really know what to expect and we just put a giant concert band together, but when we played the cut off of our march it echoed in the hall for a really long time and everyone just stopped to listen.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I'm in National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, and Varsity Tennis Team.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
I would highly recommend The Art of Possibility by Ben Zander. Our clinician for this event, Jeffery Grogan, suggested it when he conducted our All-State Orchestra and I loved it.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece hands down is the Finale to Mahler 1

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Moon Mist

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I love going to see musicals with my younger sister.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Even at your worst moments you can find a light at the end of the tunnel, like I found with French Horn, while trying to get away from bullies.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on majoring in Music Performance and Biology because I'm either going to be a doctor or play in a major symphony.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No, but I'm really excited to!

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
My entire family is from Canada, so I'm the first American in my entire family.

This is the forty-fifth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

TylerD

Name: Tyler Demsheck

Hometown: Mount Pleasant, SC

School Name: Wando High School

Instrument: Euphonium

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I wanted to be musically challenged and have the opportunity to perform with some of the best musicians in the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. Importance of practicing and repetition.
2. Putting in time reaps rewards.
3. The significance of working hard with others who share the same goal.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
10th grade All-State experience

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Station Eleven

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Benediction

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Video Games

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
If you do everything in your power to get the outcome that you want, then you can be a peace knowing that you tried your best. The rest is outside of your control.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Something in the medical field

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Grand Nationals and Super Regionals with Wando Marching Band.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I can solve a Rubik's cube in 35 seconds.

TylerD2

This is the forty-fourth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

JulianS

Name: Julian Stiles

Hometown: Hillsdale, NJ

School Name: Pascack Valley High School

Instrument: Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
The conductor of Honor Orchestra of America also conducts another orchestra I'm in, New Jersey Youth Symphony. I thought it sounded like a fun program and auditioned. Our conductor also told me that we would play Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, which is a piece I've wanted to play very badly. I also really enjoy experiences in honors ensembles. As much as I enjoy my school band, playing in groups like this is always a great way to learn and a great way to have a lot of fun.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. There's no such thing as a "perfect musician".
2. Musicians can learn from all auditions and performances, whether they're good or bad.
3. Don't leave your mouthpiece at home on the day of a concert. And don't learn the hard way like I did.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Singing "Hey Baby" to my band director at every football game.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I sing with the school's Chamber Choir and the all-male acapella group The Bro-Squad. I play in the Pit Band for the Spring Musical each year. Also, I am the Event Manager for my school's Tri-M Music Honor Society.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Currently Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks by Richard Strauss.

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I love skiing with my family and friends.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on going to college and majoring in music.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I also play piano and will be competing for the first time this spring.

JulianS2

This is the forty-third installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

SophieA

Name: Sophie Andrews

Hometown: Chatham, NJ

School Name: Chatham High School

Instrument: Violin

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
It would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to play in a national youth orchestra with musicians from all over the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1. rhythm
2. Rhythm
3. RHYTHM

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Playing Shostakovich 5 at the Kennedy Center

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Tennis team and Academic team

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Mendelssohn’s violin concerto in E minor

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Chocolate!!

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy traveling and visiting new places.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
“Never, never, never give up.” -Winston Churchill

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Major in computer science

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
No, I have not.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
Proud owner of Sophie's Math Corner (sophiescorner.jerseystem.net)

SophieA2SophieA3SophieA4

This is the forty-second installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

KassiH

Name: Kassi Hatakenaka

Hometown: Honolulu, HI

School Name: Kalani High School

Instrument: Clarinet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Since our school band will be participating in the festival, our band director mentioned that we could audition for this prestigious ensemble. The Honor Band of America would give me an opportunity to play with other skilled musicians from around the country.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1) If you're willing to put in the effort, the results you get will be incredible.
2) Do not rely on others to always be there to play a difficult section of music. Always practice everything, so if something happens you'll be good to go.
3) Respect the people who helped you on your musical journey. In some way or another they helped to get you are where you are today.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment was being in the Oahu Band Directors Association Middle School Select Band for the first time in 7th grade. Even though it was a long time ago, I still remember what an eye-opening experience it was to hear others from different schools.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
I did Judo last year, but learned that I should stick to music.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Aldridge Grainger.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
There may be something that's difficult for you to do, but if you're passionate about it and work hard, you can improve so much. When other people see that you care, you'll motivate them to do their best.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan to attend college and major in music education.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
My wrists are double jointed.

KassiH2

This is the forty-first installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

HannahS

Name: Hannah Small

Hometown: Mason, OH

School Name: Mason High School

Instrument: French Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
A friend of mine explained their HBOA 2016 experience and told me how much of an amazing time they had, and that I should audition too.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
1) How to effectively work with a large group
2) Leadership skills
3) Time management

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Going to the Midwest Clinic in Chicago, sight-seeing and traveling with a group I enjoy being with, and performing in front of hundreds of directors and musicians.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
My high school's marching band program, Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble, and other art related classes.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Angels in the Architecture, by Frank Ticheli

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Coffee

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
I enjoy pottery, ceramics, and sculpture.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
Never stop doing your best just because you aren't getting credit because it will pay off in the end.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Hopefully to get into a good music school, study horn performance, and music education.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
My high school marching band went to BOA Regionals in Toledo, and came in 1st. We also attended BOA Grand Nationals, and came 3rd in the nation.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I drove across the country, and stopped at all of the weird roadside tourist spots, from Ohio to Oklahoma.

HannahS2 

This is the fortieth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

 StevenL

Name: Steven Locastro

Hometown: Alabaster, AL

School Name: Thompson High School

Instrument: French Horn

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Last year I was in the Honor Band of America, so this year I decided to audition for both!!

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I learned how to be a leader, a teacher, and a great learner!!

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
Playing with the Honor Band of America!

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Band is the only thing I do.

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
Don Juan

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
Special FX makeup.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
Go to school and major in performance. Then one day travel the world and play my horn everywhere I go!

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
Yes! My band performed in 2015 and I was in the Honor Band of America in 2016!

StevenL2StevenL3

This is the thirty-ninth installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!

Honor Band of America members and friends, Brant Ford and Emily Cooper met at the University of Louisville Invitational Honor Band and participated in KMEA All-State together. These two friends have inspired each other over their passion for music. Learn more about Brant and Emily in their joint feature!

 Emily and Brant
BrantF
EmilyC

Name: Brant Ford

Hometown: Henderson, KY

School Name: Henderson County High School

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

 

Name: Emily Cooper

Hometown: Lexington, KY

School Name: Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Instrument: Clarinet

 

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Brant: I've always enjoyed playing in and meeting people from honor bands, and this one seems to be consistently amazing. It will also be a great opportunity to make some connections from fellow musicians from around the country.

Emily: I learned about the ensemble my freshman year of high school because some other members in the band at my school attended that year. I love playing clarinet and the atmosphere of honor bands, so when my fellow band members talked about their great experience, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

What are three things you've learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
B: 1. Practice is the best way to change (and hopefully improve) something. 2. More sound doesn't mean more music. 3. Nobody likes an ego!

E: I’ve definitely learned to be more aware of others. It started with listening for everyone’s part in the music and then it spread to other aspects of my life. I’ve also learned that you won’t get anywhere without the right attitude. You should always have respect for directors and other musicians, and also be willing to work hard and not give up. Lastly, I’ve learned to be resilient. Not everything is going to go exactly the way you want it to, and you have to be able keep going and not let it throw you off.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
B: Playing the finale of James Barnes' Third Symphony in rehearsal with my state's all state band. For about 30 seconds, it felt as though I was fully experiencing everything James Barnes intended to communicate through his piece. It was a beautiful feeling!

E: The most memorable moment I’ve had in band has to be the Europe Tour with the Kentucky Ambassadors of Music. Our last concert was in Germany in the town square of Rothenburg. After we performed all our pieces, we received a standing ovation and were asked for an encore. I think it’s amazing that even though the musicians may not speak the same language as the audience, everyone can understand music.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
B: I used to participate in my school's philosophy club, but this year I've focused all my attention to music.

E: I am in the Math, Science, and Technology Center (MSTC) program, my school’s magnet program. I am also in Spanish National Honors Society, Science National Honors Society, Dunbar’s Cultural Society, and the Band Outreach Program, where a group of high schoolers give free lessons to band students in a middle school that feeds into Dunbar.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
B: I'm not a big reader, but Cormac McCarthy's The Road is pretty great!

E: Two Across by Jeff Bartsch

What's your favorite song or piece of music?
B: My favorite piece is Walimai by Michael Djupstrom. I first heard it performed live and it made me fall in love with the saxophone.

E: Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez or Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsky

Favorite ice cream flavor?
B & E: Cookies and Cream

What's your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
B: I enjoy taking naps and looking at memes.

E: I love traveling to new places, learning about the culture and bits of the language, and scrapbooking my trips.

What's one piece of advice you'd give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
B: I feel like motivation and inspiration are unreliable facilitators for achieving excellence. While it's true we get our best work done in a state of heightened motivation or inspiration, we have to rely on discipline to keep ourselves practicing and improving. You won't always want to work hard, and there will be days where you question if the end goal is even worth it. If we discipline ourselves to steadily practice, we will steadily improve even through periods of time where we don't have the desire to.

E: You can do anything you set your mind to. Always do your best and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

What's your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
B: I plan to attend a university and major in saxophone performance.

E: After graduating high school, I plan on getting both my undergraduate degree and masters in clarinet performance.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
B: I have not.

E: I marched in the 2014 Super Regional Championships in St. Louis and the 2015 Regional Championships in Dayton.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
B: I love atonal music!

E: I helped hatch baby sea turtles and release them into the ocean on a beach in Mexico, and I marched in the 2014 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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