17 Mason musicians receive state level recognition

Matt Marvar | Staff Writer

Within the state of Ohio, there’s an orchestra, a band, and a choir that is the best. No other ensemble performs with quite the talent that this one does.

This prestigious group is called All-State, and according to Orchestra Director Stephanie Jones, the exclusive group looks for exceptional singers and players before bringing them together to play in one large band, orchestra, or choir group.

“All-State band, orchestra, and choir selects individual students based on their performance merit to be in the top ensemble in the state,” Jones said. “It’s a selective group, so they have spots they need to fill and they hear individuals…Based on the merit of their performance, they select the top students from the state.”

Jones said that the judges from All-State pick students from five different regions of the state. In the case of orchestra, there are only a maximum of [16] spots available for each region. As a result, according to Jones, the competition is intense.

“From each regional orchestra, the top two bass players, top three cello players, top three viola players, and top eight violin players,” Jones said. “They’re really looking for the best of the best. They’re looking for superior tone, superior intonation, rhythmic ability, articulation…they’re really listening for who the best players are in the state.”

Senior Julia Marchese has been a part of the All-State choir for two years now, and she said that nothing is more important than rehearsal.

“I have voice lessons and I prepare a song that I practice with my voice teacher,” Marchese said. “[I do] a lot of practicing.”

Junior Kusha Ansari, a French horn player in the All-State Band, views being a member of All-State as an amazing achievement. However, he said he also recognizes it as his hard work paying off — anyone who wants one of these prestigious positions can get it if they put their mind to it.

“It really makes you speechless when you think in the grand scheme of it all,” Ansari said. “To make the claim that you’re one of the best may be too quick of a conclusion: All-State simply means you practiced hard and auditioned well. Then, it just becomes what you do [there].”

Ansari said that becoming good at something takes experience. It isn’t something that will happen overnight, but over many years.

“It took a while to get to where I am now,” Ansari said. “I started in 6th grade and didn’t really see substantial improvements until last year…overtime, if you stick with whatever it is you enjoy, be it music, sports, [or anything else], you will see improvements.”


The All-State members included Jennifer Creutzinger and Julia Marchese for choir; Kusha Ansari, Nick Guiot, Nick Harper, Kate Fowler, Noah Lohmueller, Chris McMillian, Tim Ou, Eva Skanse, George Valcarcel, and Jessie Wang for band; Eric McMillan, James Probel, Jeffery Wang, Matt Whipple, and James Zhu for orchestra.

Photos by Online Editor Gina Deaton