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An auditioner’s adventure
March 1, 2017
Being a musician is all about overcoming obstacles. But for every hurdle cleared, there’s at least two more down the road. This is the case for both amatuer and professional musicians.
I have been playing the bassoon—a large, woodwind instrument with the likeness of a bazooka—for almost six years. I have faced and overcome many obstacles; from preparing difficult repertoire to playing on a broken instrument. And as last winter approached, I had to prepare myself to clear another hurdle: the All-State Band and Orchestra auditions.
On the morning of Dec. 3 I left my house at 7:30 a.m., apricot danish in hand, and embarked on the two hour journey to Columbia, Mo. in the passenger seat of my mom’s car.
Walking into Hickman High School at 9:30 a.m. the morning of All-State auditions was overwhelming to say the least. A lone blow-up mattress, sleeping bags, folding chairs and instrument cases clogged the hallways. Saxophonists paced around, attempting to outplay the hundreds of other musicians in the room. Band directors ran around frantically, trying to track down students before they missed their audition slots.
I scoped out an empty bench and set up camp, knowing that I could very well be there for more than ten hours.
As my preliminary audition approached, for once in my life, I felt prepared. My number was called and I rose from the ground to speak with the room monitor. It was not what I expected. The room monitor apologized and informed me that the judges will be taking a 30 minute lunch break. I returned to my place on the ground, only to be abruptly called back by the judges minutes later to take an audition I was no longer mentally prepared to take.
Coming out of my preliminary audition I was certain I would not be called back to perform a final audition. Usually only half those who audition on bassoon are called back, and given my poor performance, I was prepared to go home. All there was left to do was wait.
Every time someone came on the intercom to announce audition results, the room fell silent and everyone glued their eyes to the projector screen where the results were posted. And for two hours I stared at that projector screen
When bassoon callbacks were finally posted, much to my surprise, I was on the list.
I rushed to the office to pick up my callback slip, and returned to my seat giddy and eager to practice as much as possible before my final audition.
Leaving my callback audition, I felt significantly more confident in the way I had performed than I had following my preliminary audition, and was incredibly relieved to have completed the audition process.
After an hour or so, an announcement was made directing people to the projector screen for the official bassoon chair placements. Curiously enough, nothing appeared on the screen. More announcements were made, insisting that the selected bassoonists come pick up their music from the office. But the projector screen remained blank. No one had any way of knowing the final audition results. I hurriedly scanned the results posted in the windows of the office while other bassoonists started to crowd around the office door, each of us confused and anxious to hear the results.
As time went on, they began announcing names over the intercom and instructing the individuals to come to the main office.
That’s when I heard my name.
Upon entering the office I was handed as large, sleek, black folder with gold embossed lettering on it. The folder read “Missouri All-State Band” and was filled with pages upon pages of music. I had been selected as the third chair bassoon in the All-State Band. Another hurdle had been cleared.