Betsy Kim ’17 and Emily Chen ’17 Insider Look Into MMEA 2015 All-State Conference

-By Betsy Kim and Emily Chen- Almost five months have passed since the Panel featured an article about the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Eastern District Senior Festival auditions, and Emily Chen ’17 and Betsy Kim ’17, are back with the last installment in this coverage of Massachusetts’s musical tournament: the MMEA 2015 All-State Conference. To even reach this Conference, musicians from across Massachusetts first auditioned back in October within their district (Northeastern, Eastern, etc.) for a chance to play in their District Festival orchestra in December. After reaching this semi-final round of playing in their respective Districts orchestra, the competition to get into the final round of this tournament began! Three Winsor students made it into the All-States Orchestra — your two writers and Eujin Kim ’18. Every year, the MMEA holds the All-States Conference at the Boston Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. The annual All-State Conference not only hosts a series of sessions, meetings, and conventions for approximately 800 music educators from Massachusetts, but it also includes a music festival that includes 500 of Massachusetts’s top student musicians performing in orchestra, concert band, jazz band, and chorus. While many of our readers may have been lounging on the beach, skiing at remarkable altitudes, and generally enjoying their March vacations, we, along with hundreds of other young musicians, were corralled into the Seaport Hotel to begin an intense, three-day marathon of rehearsals with only short breaks between the long hours of rehearsing. However, players were not always required to stay in the rehearsal room; during the breaks in between intense rehearsing, we ate from the hotel buffet in the Hotel’s massive ballroom or walked from the Hotel to the nearby World Trade Center to explore the musical convention where various organizations set up booths to advertise musical programs, instruments, and other festivals. At the end of a long day of rehearsal, we retired to our rooms in the Seaport Hotel, where we spent the night with two other musicians sharing our room. Although it initially seemed intimidating to have roommates who were from a different school (as well as a different musical ensemble), it was actually very rewarding to get to know them. Despite our differences, our common sense of humor and passion for music quickly bonded the four of us. Having long, uninterrupted rehearsal hours over those three days at the Festival forced us to really focus on the work and music at hand. We had just two and a half days to rehearse the music before the Symphony Hall concert on the third day. In the end, we realized that the All-States Festival was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, despite the grueling application process and rigor of the festival itself. The experience as a whole was not just an amazing opportunity to meet musicians from all over Massachusetts, but it was also a test of strength, resolve, and passion for the music.