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I opened the link to the audition results nervously, and when I finally open the PDF file, I was speechless.
It was finally the day. Thursday, February 25th, 2016, the day of my honors band audition. I chose the 6:00 P.M. time slot to give myself as much time as possible to prepare the music, but I still felt so nervous about this audition. My private lesson teacher, my band directors, and my peers all said I would get in and I really wanted to. Not only would getting into an Honors Band as a freshman be an amazing achievement, but it would look great for colleges because it’s so rare for lower classmen! I looked at the clock; it reads 5:56 p.m. I had four minutes to warm up and get rid of my nerves. Finally, it was time to go in and perform. Mr. Shelato, the director running the brass auditions, told me which pieces to play in which order, so I shuffled through the music getting it into the right order.
“Ok Ryan, whenever you’re ready to begin,” Mr. Shelato said, ready to take notes for my audition. I take a deep breath and put my trumpet on my face.
“You can do this,” I thought to myself, “you’ve been working hard on this music for weeks. It’s now or never.” And I was off! The music came from a book by J.B. Arban and his numerous etudes, sometimes to referred to as the “Trumpet Bible,” but I was confident. I race through the scales sheet without a problem.
“Ok,” I thought in my head, as I was getting the next piece up on the stand, “the easy part is over with. Now it gets serious.” I began playing the etude and luckily it was the part I had worked on in my lessons for the past few weeks. A few errors but I wasn’t worried. I pulled up the last piece, the slow etude.
“It’s a slow piece, tempo control and tone is the most important thing here.” My private lesson teacher’s voice echoed in my head. I played the piece, better than I had ever played it before, and my 8 minutes are up. I left the room, packed up my things, and headed home with my dad. I wasn’t sure when audition results would be posted, so I decided to check the website daily until I could view them.
The next day rolled around and I went to school like any other normal day, but band was different that day. “Yo, Burns, you alright?” My friend Miles asked me, a little worried by my unusually quiet behavior. I nodded my head and replied, “Yeah I’m ok. Just anxious to see the audition results and all.” I knew there was no need to be nervous because I performed very well, but I wanted to get in more than anything.
Each day I went to school, and each day I was more and more anxious. It felt like days were getting longer and longer. I was almost to the point of impatience.
“Do you know when the results will be up?” I asked my friend Claire, since she also auditioned and her brother was currently going to our school.
“I think by this weekend but it depends on how many people auditioned.” She replied. That reassured me, knowing they’d most likely be up this weekend.
Finally, Saturday rolled around. I checked the website in the morning; I saw no results. I checked the website in the afternoon; I saw no results. Later that evening, I got a text from one of my friends whose sister goes to our school. The text message read, “Results are up.” I immediately sprung to my laptop, opened it up and went the website.
“You’ve worked hard for this,” I thought to myself, “You deserve to get in.” I opened the link to the audition results nervously, and when I finally opened the PDF file, I was speechless. I first checked Honors Wind Ensemble, the most elite band. I knew there was a slim chance of getting in there, but best to check anyway. I scrolled through the trumpet names, anxiously searching for mine, but my name wasn’t there.
“Don’t lose hope yet,” I said to myself, “there’s still one band left to check.” I scroll down to Honors Symphonic Winds, I looked through each instrument and see many of my other friends had gotten in as well, and had even placed fairly high. Finally, I scrolled down to Trumpet. Finally, I see my name, sixth chair trumpet may not have been the ideal placement I hoped for, but I was in nonetheless. I raced down the hall to find my mom, tears welling up in my eyes.
“I got in.” I said, out of breath and shaking from pure excitement.
“What are you talking about?” She asked me, extremely confused.
“I got into an Honors Band,” I said, showing her the list, “take a look for yourself. Jonathan got in too!” She took the computer and looked it over, happy for me that I had gotten in. I called my dad, and I told him about it. I also called up my grandparents that live in Iowa. Then I remembered that my friend Jonathan, who also got in, was coming over because we were going to see a movie. As soon as he arrived at the door, I told him and his dad they should come in for a few minutes.
“We got in!” I said to him, my face beaming with joy. At first he seemed confused, but after showing him and his dad the list, they both seem proud. We went to the movie but I wasn’t paying too much attention. I was too preoccupied and excited I had gotten in, after all the hard work I had put into preparing the music.
Monday rolled around and I went to school, like any other normal day. I expected my band directors to know about the students who had gotten in, but I didn’t expect my principal, Mr. Pilut, to announce over the intercom who got in, during morning announcements.
“Congratulations!” My entire homeroom said to me. I went through my classes and not too many other people congratulated me, but I didn’t care too much, mostly because they didn’t care about band and I had worked hard to get in. I was proud of myself, which was good enough for me. I finally arrived in the band room and that’s where I hoped to be recognized, along with the other 5 people who auditioned and got in.
“Nice job.” A few of my section mates replied to me. That was about as much student and friend recognition I got, but all the directors were proud of our accomplishments.
Months had passed, school was wrapping up, and it was almost time for the pre-marching season to begin for band. Little did I know, everything was about to change. My 8th grade band director asked me if I was interested in playing the French Horn. My immediate response was yes, but then I remembered something important.
“If I choose to switch, would that mean giving up my spot in an honors band? I would hate to do that.” I asked her.
“Personally, I’m not sure. I would email them and see what they have to say and figure out prices and arrangements.” She replied. So I did exactly that. I went home, talked to my mom about it, and we emailed them. Their answer actually surprised me. They said as long as I took private lessons, I could stay in Honors Symphonic Winds, and I could switch back whenever I’d like.
We arranged lessons with the teacher, and after the first lesson she said to my mom, “He’s got so much potential. I think he could make into the Honors Wind Ensemble next year.” After hearing those words, I was completely shocked, but at the same time, I was motivated and ready to work harder than I’d ever worked before.