All-State All Stars

Skyler Kasselmann and Anna Izquierdo

James Wickline

On Jan. 11, senior James Wickline auditioned for the Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA) All-State Band for the sixth year in a row. Since his seventh grade year, he has become a part of the District Band three times and a part of the All-State Band in eighth and tenth grade.

Wickline was given two pieces, a slow, lyrical piece, and a fast, technical piece to practice beforehand and then perform at the audition. James was also given two other pieces he had to sight-read and play without practice.

Throughout the six years James has auditioned, he has become the best baritone saxophone player in the state of Georgia, and he held this title both his
eighth and tenth-grade years.

The GMEA All-State Band is a state-wide band program composed of two different auditions. Anyone who plays a musical instrument is able to try out regardless of their playing abilities.

The first audition is at the district level for Fulton county, and if the participant performs well enough during that audition, then he or she will be placed in the District Band. Then, the musician will continue on to the second trial, which is the state-wide audition.

Over the years, the audition spots have changed locations, but the District Band audition takes place at North Atlanta High School. Additionally, the All-State Band audition takes place at the UGA Classic Center in Athens, Georgia.

As James has auditioned for All-State each year, he says “[he has] grown more and more confident,” and once he got a few auditions over with, the nerves and intimidation factor wore off.

“Knowing that I am the absolute best at something in the state of Georgia” is Wickline’s favorite memory from the years he has auditioned and performed for the All-State.

Lauren Oh

On Jan. 16, sophomore Lauren Oh at Mount Pisgah successfully completed the second round audition for the All-State Chorus, and will be performing on Feb. 29 at the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia.

Oh discovered her vocal talent at a young age and started singing when she was five years old. She says, “I just loved the beautiful sound that I could make, and I loved performing in front of the crowd.”

Her passion for singing solo music as well as choral music inspired her to audition for All-State Chorus for the first time this year. In the first round, participants were given music and scales to practice and perform in the audition. Oh was given the song “Gia Il Sole Dal Gange.” When Oh advanced to the second and final round, she was judged on the performance of the assigned pieces, including “Ave Egina Suil A Ruin.”

“I was pretty nervous since it’s a big audition, but it’s very important to have confidence in singing,” Oh says. “Whenever I have singing contests, auditions or performances, I just imagine that I’m the best singer in the world so that I can release tension in my body.”

Nadia Priyam

Sophomore Nadia Priyam at Mount Pisgah was recently chosen to participate in Georgia’s All-State Orchestra performance at The University of Georgia on March 7.

Priyam plays the violin and has become very talented over the years as a result of her hard work. She says that her curiosity in the violin sparked when she was only five years old. She played throughout her childhood years until middle school, which is when her “interest soared through the roof.”

“When I first started playing in an orchestra, I loved how the sounds of each instrument mixed together to create beautiful music,” says Priyam.

In order to perform for All-State Orchestra, participants must first go through the two round audition process. In round one, each participant has to play an excerpt of music, scales, and sight reading. Priyam met this criteria, and moved onto round two. In this final round, she competed against all other orchestra students in the state of Georgia.

The music chosen to be performed for the second audition was announced only 24 hours before, which gave the finalists very little time to prepare. The audition process was very stressful, especially because this was her first time auditioning. Priyam says “I felt very nervous and did not think I would make it, but all of my hard work paid off.”