All-State, All-East auditions turn into successful day for Bearden students

When there are so many talented instrument players not only at Bearden but also all over Tennessee, concerts are needed to showoff the best of the best. That’s where All-East and All-State come in.

This year, 21 Bearden band members – five more than last year – will perform at All-East; three band members made it to All-State, which recognizes the top 1% of band members in Tennessee. Along with the band, the Bearden orchestra had seven applicants selected for All-East and four selected for All-State.

Senior tuba player Will Bendy will join senior Emma Burklin and junior Tyler Rausch, who will both return to All-State for the second year in a row.

“Before the audition, I didn’t know how well it was going to go, but afterwards it felt fine. It had gone really well,” said Rausch, who is playing in All-State for band and All-East for orchestra. “I was feeling strong.”

More than 1,500 band applicants auditioned for All-East, with only a fraction making it into the “red” band or the higher ranking “blue” band. There are two “red” bands and two “blue” bands, one of each for underclassmen.

The process for orchestra and band All-East and All-State are similar, but with fewer applicants for the strings section; there are only two orchestras, one for 9th and 10th graders, and one for 11th and 12th graders, who also perform with the band ensemble.

“It turns out that I had more kids make All-State this year, so I’m really, really proud,” orchestra conductor Ms. Katie Middleton said.

According to Ms. Middleton, unlike last year, freshmen were allowed to audition this year for orchestra, which made it difficult to know what to expect.

The high competition created many nerves for both the band and orchestra students at Bearden who have spent a majority of their high school careers mastering their instrument.

“Before my audition, I was going to check my phone and I kind of, accidentally, threw it across the stage because I was really nervous,” senior bass clarinet player David Woods said.

Along with Woods, almost all the applicants, some of whom have played for more than six years, had “pre-audition jitters.” Once the auditions were over, however, all that hard work and dedication seemed to pay off.

“I’ve been doing it for so long, and I’m really connected to it and it’s just part of everyday life for me now,” senior violinist Chase Burton said. “You should be proud if you make it.”

Band and orchestra will represent Bearden at All-East on Feb. 6-8 in Gatlinburg and April 9-12 in Memphis for All-State.