Brass musicians to represent MTHS in statewide concerts

By Annika Prom, Lifestyle Editor

Musicians in the Edmonds School District (ESD) beat the odds by being selected out of 1,000 others. But they collectively accomplished one other feat—the ESD surpassed the average number of All-State musicians per district over tenfold.

Four MTHS band students joined the 2018 Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) All-State honor music groups after passing auditions in October. All accepted musicians will participate in a concert in Yakima in February.

Freshman Ian Sjoholm entered the All-State Concert Groups as a tuba in the Wind Ensemble. With his second appearance, sophomore Alec Raring returned as a trombone in the same category, working with the Chamber Orchestra.

Junior Henry Smith-Hunt is also a familiar face, making his way up to second trombone in the Jazz Band of the All-State Jazz Groups. His eagerness to apply for his second year encouraged senior Ethan Pyke to audition as well. Pyke secured the first trombone role in the Jazz Band.

“It was sort of a tag team. I auditioned because [Smith-Hunt] auditioned, mainly,” Pyke said. “[I felt] mainly relieved. I was happy. I was really excited and surprised to get first trombone.”

Band director Darin Faul suggested they audition for All-State. The students performed certain excerpts provided by WMEA to audition. WMEA announced the winners in November and they recently received the music for their upcoming concert.

These individuals compose a small portion of the 1,000 musicians accepted into All-State, selected out of about two to three thousand applicants, estimated Pyke.

An average of three students per participating school district were chosen for All-State, but the Edmonds School District (ESD) dominated the pool with 33 of their students successfully entering the program. ESD visual & performing arts director Scott Barnes recognized the musicians at the school board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Though Smith-Hunt and Faul gave Pyke the push to audition for All-State, he said he would have given it a shot regardless to maximize his impact as a senior.

“This year I just tried to branch out, try new things. I didn’t audition last year, but this year I decided I might as well try; it’s my last year,” Pyke said.

Pyke intended to take a risk, not just as a musician, but as a person, and “expand [his] horizons.”

“[I’m] trying to become a new person for college or a better version of me for college. I felt like expanding what I do and trying out for this All-State would help with that,” he said.

The All-State musicians will travel to Yakima next month to rehearse and put on concerts. The Jazz Band and Jazz Choir will perform on Friday, Feb. 16 while the general bands, orchestras and choir will perform on Sunday, Feb. 18.