By: Rebecca Lyford

Laramie High School students who qualified for Wyoming’s All-State Band will attend virtually this coming year.

The event was originally supposed to occur the second week in January of 2021 but has recently been moved online.

“It will involve the students that made the All-State Band meeting online with a conductor and then they will individually record their parts at home and an engineer will mix [these recordings] together for the final product,” LHS Band Director Chris Olson said.

In the past, All-State is a grand event that includes Band, Choir, and Orchestra made up of the top musicians in the state where each group rehearses with a nationally or internationally renowned conductor.

Not only do the students improve their skills as musicians in rehearsal, but they also get to hear middle school, high school and professional groups perform.

“This year [All-State’s] going to be pretty different, but we still wanted kids to have the honor of making the group, and we also wanted them to have the experience of participating in an All-State group,” Olson said.

The results of those who received the honor of making the All-State Band just recently came out.

This year, two students qualified: Aiden Giraldo, a senior who plays clarinet, and Paul Taufa, a freshman who plays euphonium.

The materials for the audition process come out in early September and in November the students record their auditions.

Those recordings are then anonymously sent to a judge who is a specialist on whichever instrument the student auditions on.

“[The judges] go through a very specific rubric about tone, pitch, rhythm, and notes…and all these other parts of the musicality of it, and then the judge will score students, and the top students of the state are chosen for those groups,” Olson said.

Olson and the other teachers who work with the students find that all students who audition improve in some way, even if they do not make the All-State group.

“Even if [the students] don’t make it, trying out is really a way for them to improve on their instrument and their technique, and they also learn the [All-State] process…The process isn’t going to change if they are a freshman when they try out, when they become a sophomore they know what to expect and then they know how to better prepare the next year,” Associate Band Director Eric Seiger said.

Furthermore, this audition process helps students interested in studying music in post-secondary education.

“I teach my kids strategies to stay calm, to stay focused [and] to put their best audition forward. [In] auditions you get one shot, and you can’t afford anything like nerves or lack of focus to get in the way of that one moment in time that you have to present your best work,” Olson said.