Virginia All States Band Qualifiers

Kat Halepaska, Design Editor

During the band concert, Mr. Robert Gillette asked for all the kids who made regionals, districts, and State qualifiers to stand. The two students who participated in Virginia All Band States were Nathan Jones (‘23) and Sofia Meador-El Belkacemi (‘23).

The students who shoot for States work tirelessly to make sure the basics are perfect and that they are prepared for anything to be thrown their way.

“Just constant practice, you know, just doing basic scales, long tones, all that practicing every day. Not overworking,” Meador-El Belkacemi (‘23) said.

There really isn’t any set schedule for States. On Thursday students drive to their location and check into their hotel rooms. The next day students start straight away, they go to the assigned school, start warmups, and run through each piece. Saturday is similar, but there’s more singing notes instead of playing them so that students don’t wear their lips out before the final performance.

“I generally play the audition piece. For my skills, generally, 30 or 45 minutes a day leading up to the audition. And then, of course, the audition itself […] I knew it was like two hours before the auditions started and everyone else started playing and I was like why waste my chops when I can sit here and let everyone else do it,” Jones (‘23) said.

This isn’t the first time Sofia, a French horn player, has gone to States. Last year she also made it.

“It’s just a lot of people. And sometimes when you go there you feel like I don’t belong here. Like I’m not good enough. But then when you perform for everyone, it’s like I did that. I do belong here,” she said.

As for the final results, Sofia placed fourth in States and played fourth chair for orchestra. Jones placed fifth overall in the state and played third chair for the symphonic band.