53 students chosen to participate in All-County Band

Faith Rickerts, new editor

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Every fall, Northwest’s band students are encouraged to audition for the All-County Band ensemble by their teacher, Brian McMath.

While the numbers of students selected to participate vary from year to year, this year, a resounding 53 students from Northwest alone were chosen to perform in the concert held at Grimsley High School—the highest number Northwest has ever had.

All-County is an opportunity for band students to audition amongst hundreds of other students from around Guilford County for the chance to work with different clinicians and perform with other students from different schools who share the same passion.

Junior Elyza Espinosa has been auditioning for All-County for five years, and has performed in the ensemble every year she has auditioned.

“It wasn’t really that stressful [to audition],” Espinosa said. “I’ve done it since seventh grade, so it really wasn’t that bad.”

Sophomore Amy Owen, however, has only auditioned for two years.

“I was nervous the whole time [I was auditioning],” Owen said. “There were so many people, it was really crowded.”

Many students from around the county came to Western Guilford to audition in hopes of getting into the ensemble. This year, instead of everyone vying for a certain chair in one single band, there were multiple bands with multiple chairs available.

“I knew I was going to get in,” Espinosa said. “I just didn’t know what chair I was going to get. For me, it’s mostly about trying to get a high chair, not just trying to get in. I know that if I know my stuff, I’ll get in. That’s the confidence you have to have when you audition: you audition for a chair, not just getting in.”

Owen, however, was not expecting to receive a spot in the ensemble.

“I was surprised [that I got in], because there were a lot of great players there [auditioning],” Owen said.

Mcmath encourages all of his students, and requires all of his students in his highest band class, to audition because of the opportunities it presents to the students selected to participate.

“It felt good [performing],” Owen said. “I thought we made really good progress in the time that we had, and our conductor was really good. I thought it went really well.”

The students in All-County Band ensembles travel to Grimsley High School for rehearsals with different musical clinicians and their conductor.

“[Our performance] was okay,” Espinosa said. “I felt like we were kind of disjointed, because we’re all from different schools, so we weren’t used to playing with each other, and we only had two days [to rehearse] and the rehearsals were only four hours long.”

Considering Northwest’s band classes start rehearsing for their winter concert in early October, this is a very short amount of time for the students to learn three pieces of music.

The musicians chosen to perform are up to the challenge, and have help from the professionals brought in.

“Meeting the different clinicians [is my favorite part].” Espinosa said. “Seeing what they do with music in their lives, because they literally work with music, is really cool.”


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