Students Participate in Area All-State Music Festival


Monroe-Woodbury High School Participants of Area All-State

Yoomin Sung and Issac Hong, Editor, Writer

Twelve members of Monroe-Woodbury High School’s top orchestras, chamber and symphonic, performed at the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) Area All-State festival this November. 

Area All-State is a music festival that is held for top high school musicians each year. The primary goal for Area All-State is to further the musical education and development of students all over New York. 

The qualifications to participate in the NYSSMA Conference All-State music groups are very competitive, with extensive review being done in order to make sure that all participants are ranked properly and fairly.

To qualify for performing, students must be recommended by any music teacher and perform at an audition, where they are judged by NYSSMA-certified judges. A musician must score at least an A to be selected. At the festival, the student must play a NYSSMA-approved piece that is ranked at a level five or six in difficulty and complexity, according to the association’s manual. Piece difficulty ranges from a scale of one to six.  

The violinists from Monroe-Woodbury that were chosen to perform were Max Hershkowitz, Mckayla Kim, Anne Mangatt, Lauren Mueller, Elizabeth Qu, and Yoomin Sung. The violists were Jack Sheehy and Lindsey Winters. The cellists were Molly Foley, Gerard Haber Jr., and Celeste O’Grady. Matthew Ocasio was selected as a bassist for the festival. 

Senior violist, Jack Sheehy, said “I’m grateful I was invited to play for Area All State, and I’m happy to have placed 3rd chair this year!”

In addition to improving musical ability and skills, students talked with others about their passion for music. Freshman cellist, Gerard Haber, said “I had a great time performing and practicing with other amazing musicians from around our area here in New York. The concert went very well in my opinion, too! I had an even better time socializing with my friends on the bus ride…and meeting new people who play the cello like I do.” 

“As a freshman, I was inspired by all those who were older than I am and their musical abilities and look forward to playing in Area All-State again,” said Haber. 

Another student, a freshman second violinist, Mckayla Kim said “It was fun to see some of my old acquaintances from other schools that I hadn’t expected to see.”

Senior Max Hershkowitz passed the rigorous selection process of the NYSSMA auditions and was selected to participate in the NYSSMA Conference All-State orchestra. The festival took place from December 1 to 4 in the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. 

Hershkowitz said, “It’s an honor to be invited. It’s a really great opportunity where I get to meet a lot of new friends and play challenging music.”