NC musicians earn spots in prestigious ensembles

Abby Gruner, editor

Recognition for achievements
Abby Gruner
Accepting recognition:
Madyson Willis (12) stands to be recognized for being accepted into the Wyoming All-state Honor Band at the Pride in Excellence assembly on December 12, 2019. Willis and the other musicians selected for one of the three All-state Honor ensembles will attend the Wyoming all-state music clinics January 20-1 at Thunder Basin High School in Gillette, Wyoming. At the clinics, the musicians will prepare for a concert after the second day of preparation.

Band, choir and orchestra students of NC auditioned for spots in Wyoming All-state music honor groups that will come together to put on a concert January 21, 2020 at Thunder Basin High School in Gillette, Wyoming. Several NC students in each of the three musical areas successfully secured spots in the All-state music honor groups. For some, this is their first year making the prestigious group but for others it is up to their fourth time successfully auditioning. 

The three ensembles that students auditioned for are the All-State Honor Band, the All-State Honor Orchestra (made up of the top orchestra and band students), and the All-State Honor Choir. These three ensembles will get together and rehearse for their concert January 20 and 21. Students who auditioned for All-state began preparing around the time the school year began when the audition materials were released. Band, choir and orchestra students had to prepare two pieces of music as well as scales which were released around two weeks before the auditions.

NC’s orchestra director, Steve Grussendorf, said that he thinks the main benefits of all-state for students is getting an opportunity to play with the best musicians in the state and that the music choice tends to push students to expand their skills. The clinicians who run the rehearsals for each of the groups are selected by members of the Wyoming Music Educators Association (WMEA). Grussendorf said, “You (a member of the WMEA) are trying to get people who are nationally known, you’re trying to get people who have a reputation for doing quality work with quality literature, someone who has experience doing other all-states as well.”

(Number in parenthesis denotes number of years the musician has been selected for All-State)

The NC students selected for the 2020 All-state Honor Band are:

Kerrissa Anderson (3)- 3rd clarinet

Jenna Farley- 2nd Flute

Sean Franklin- 2nd trumpet

Tamsyn Gorman- 3rd Horn

Gavin Guerrera- 1st Horn

Taylor Orndorff (4)-1st Clarinet

Riley Paris (4)- 1st Clarinet

Jack Robitaille (2)-Bass Clarinet

Sydney Thomas-3rd Clarinet

Madyson Willis-Tuba

The NC students selected for the 2020 All-state Honor Choir are:

Ethan Brown (2)-Tenor 1

Jessica Cowen- Alto 1

Diana Fittje(2)- Soprano 2

Joel Kornkven(2)-Bass 1

Brynley LaChance-Soprano 2

Anastasia Zettl(3)- Soprano 2

The NC students selected for the 2020 All-state Honor Orchestra:

Jack Larson(2)-Violin 2

Kathryn McCarty-Viola

Jack Larson (11) said after making it into all-state orchestra his freshman year he got overly confident and didn’t practice for his audition enough his sophomore year which prevented him from being selected. This year he was extremely motivated to recover his spot and was even more pleased when he learned he had succeeded. 

Larson started playing the violin at age seven because it was a requirement for his pre-school. Larson said his goal is to earn as many scholarships as possible for violin and auditioning and securing spots in the All-state orchestra will help him do so. Larson said he has already been approached by a few colleges because of his achievements as a musician. When asked if he could see himself playing violin in college Larson said, “Yes I do… not violin performance but music education.”

Brynley LaChance (11) said that she has been singing basically her whole life. She decided to audition for the All-State Honor Choir last year after “my friends bullied me into it.” LaChance said she began to take singing seriously in elementary school and was in Casper Children’s Chorale from fourth to eighth grade. LaChance was a member of the National Children’s Honor choir in eighth grade. 

LaChance said the most challenging part of the audition process for All-state was sight reading. LaChance said the only way to get better at sight reading was to just “practice and find places to do it.” LaChance plans on auditioning again next year.