Orchestra progresses in TMEA auditions


Isabella Verette

Students practice playing the violin and cello under the direction of choir director Joseph Smith.

Isabella Verette and Bentlee Toland

The TMEA region process is nothing new for Texas orchestra students. With help from their director Joseph Smith and the hours of practice, dedication, and hard work they put into their music, six members advanced from region auditions to pre-area. 

The TMEA region process, also commonly referred to as region or pre-area, is a series of auditions held by members of The Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA). The goal of this process is to narrow down the best musicians in the state and put them in larger ensembles with other musicians that are in the top rank in the state too. 

Junior Will Gum’s dedication to the cello has helped him reach new horizons with music. In the Region All-State process he gets the chance to play things he normally would be shy from trying, like harder UIL-graded music. 

“I think it definitely pushes me to play stuff that I couldn’t,” Gum said. 

Like Gum, most members of the orchestra have been dedicated to their chosen instruments since middle school or prior and have put in many hours of practice to excel. Before these Region auditions, student musicians work hard to prepare for the next round of pieces that they will be playing for judges.

“I usually practice after school quietly in my room so I can focus and I try and practice every day,” junior Lillian Ruxer said. “This is something that takes up a lot of school-dedicated time since it involves learning several new pieces at one time” 

With the practice these students put in they were able to advance to pre-area auditions with the end goal of making it as far as they can in this process and hopefully making a chair in State. Making State can be extremely helpful when it comes to college opportunities. This gives students a higher chance of more musical opportunities and scholarship programs, due to college recruiters present at these events. Students can get full-ride scholarships to schools for showing off their musical talent in orchestra while majoring in something completely different. 

Pre-area just happened on Oct. 27 and students are waiting to see what chairs the six region placers made, As they wait the practice doesn’t stop. 

“Making chairs is how well you do or how high you are ranked 1-36, for how well you play given excerpts for an audition,” Ruxer said. 

Many students love when it gets to the TMEA season. The excitement and pressure push many students to rise up in the music community. Many competitors enjoy meeting new musicians and learning from them.

“I think it’s always good to make friends with other musicians and they can like give you input and you can all become better musicians in the process,” Gum said. “I think playing as an orchestra is always fun, and then it’s really exciting when you’re competing and trying to do a really good job.”

Orchestra students believe they have a good shot at getting far and maybe even having some students place in the All-State Orchestra. 

“I think that there’s always a chance,” Gum said. “It’s really competitive and Texas is the most competitive state in the nation, So there’s always a chance but again, it’s however you do on audition day.”

The six bowie students that placed were Will Gum 1st chair cello, Milo Churdimsky 2nd chair viola, Ashira Fronk 2nd chair harp, Zara Groover 4th chair first violin, Chloe yoo 13th chair first violin, Lily Ruxer 5th chair 2nd violin, and Audrey Wiley 11th chair cello.

“The end goal is to make the orchestra and be able to play some great music,” Ruxer said. “ This audition process strengthens your ability to play in front of people and playing ability.”