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WAUNAKEE, WI — Many of Wisconsin’s most accomplished junior high and middle school music students (band, choir and orchestra) participated in the first-ever Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) Virtual Middle Level State Honors Project held on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31.
Among the 2020 WSMA Middle Level State Honors Student Members is Lyra Ketola, from Glenwood City Middle School, who plays clarinet.
Throughout the state, 298 students in grades 6-8 were selected from over 1,100 who registered to audition. Video auditions, including a prepared solo or etudes, sight reading and scales, were submitted during the months of June for vocalists, string and wind instruments. Percussionists submitted video auditions during the month of September. Selection for the band, choir and orchestra was based on several elements of music performance.
WSMA State Honors Music Project brings Wisconsin’s finest school musicians together to work with nationally known conductors in a professional setting. The 2020 WSMA Middle Level State Honors conductors were:
• Band: Dr. Phil Ostander, UW-Eau Claire
• Orchestra: Dr. Stephen Benham, Duquesne University
• Choir: Mr. Vincent Oakes, Chattanooga, TN
“Learning, interacting and performing with other inspiring musicians from across the state under the direction of a nationally recognized conductor and some of Wisconsin’s finest music educators, offers students an incredible enrichment opportunity,” said Erica Ruppert, WSMA program director.
In addition to full ensemble rehearsals and sectional activities, students participated in a Q&A session with the composer of their musical selections. J. Reese Norris, Richard Meyer, and Dr. Erika Svanoe gave insightful information regarding the technical aspects, inspiration for and meaning behind their music compositions.
Students in grades 6-8 who attend a WSMA member school and participate in the school’s music program will be eligible to audition for the 2021 WSMA Middle Level State Honors Project. Auditions will be held in late May and early April. For more information on Middle Level State Honors and other WSMA programs, visit wsmamusic.org.