Playing For The Win


Grace Dunn, Staff Writer

“I was standing backstage before the performance clutching my violin and my bow. Little did I know that when I walked out from behind the curtain, I would see so many shadowed faces staring at me, and the rest of the group,” says Sophomore Alexis Hudson.

Average people can only imagine the amount of stress this kind of a performance could evoke. To the selected musicians that perform with Florida’s All-State Orchestra this is only the beginning of the stress.

The Florida Music Educators Association Development Conference is a group of music educators “that help one another develop professionally, share ideas, and give clinics,” according to Nicole Young, Out-of-Door Academy’s orchestra teacher.

This conference selects an outstanding group of musicians to perform at a concert. The selected participants consist of Florida’s All-State musical groups.

The music department at Out-Of-Door Academy is excited to announce the involvement of two students in Florida’s All-State Orchestra. Alexis Hudson and Chelsea Ball were selected to participate in this prestigious program. Alexis was chosen to perform with the All-State Orchestra, and Chelsea was selected to represent our school in the Middle School Honors Orchestra.  Thousands of students all across Florida compete for this special honor.

In the spring, students interested in auditioning for the program start to learn and perfect advanced repertoires. Student musicians dedicate an extreme amount of time for preparation.

“It depends on what I have going on, but I practice 1-3 hours everyday,” Alexis says.

The audition process is stressful because it includes performing musical pieces, scales, and sight-reading.

Alexis says that sight-reading is the most stressful part of the audition process “because you have no preparation before playing.”

Alexis has been playing the violin since she was six years old. Originally she got into playing the violin through her older brother, who also played.

The conference selects its participants in the fall through the audition, and the students continue to practice until their concert in January. The concert took place in Tampa this year. Here, various age groups and skill levels of bands, choruses, and orchestras performed.

“The concert was more exciting than overwhelming because we had all worked so hard and could finally perform!” Alexis says when asked if the concert was stressful or overwhelming.

“My favorite piece of music that we performed was Marche Slave by Tchaikovsky,” says Alexis.

When students reach this high level of training, it is important that they’re focused, and love whatever they’re doing. Whether that passion be a sport, art, hobby. Determination is always key.

Alexis and Chelsea display these characteristics as they continue their musical journeys.