Rocking Out at Region

Although many band students from the Medina Valley Band auditioned, eight students went through the audition process and advanced to qualify for the 5A region bands.


Eight of our band students with the director of bands after the region concert. Left to right: Grace Simonson (11), Nathaniel Martin (10), Koree Valencia (12), Sara Guinn (12), Anthony Zinsmeyer (11), Juan Madrigal (10), Tyler Oberhauser (12). Not pictured: Lilia Martinez (12).

Janelle De Jesus, Staff Writer

Eight of our band students went through the long, tiring audition process to achieve making the two region bands. Following that, four people advanced to area for region band.

“I’ve always been proud of my accomplishments,” junior clarinet player Grace Simonson said. “When I found out I made first chair this year and I was going to area I was ecstatic, it made me realize that I could do anything I set my mind to.” 

Making the region band is not as easy as simply auditioning and making it. The audition process can take up to 12 hours, and that is only the first part. We had three clarinets from MV audition, and their audition took nine hours. 

“Sitting there is boring!” senior clarinet player Koree Valencia said. “You’re sitting there for hours in a hot room, you’re anxious, you’re hungry because you haven’t eaten and then there’s always that one kid auditioning to make his band director happy but he doesn’t actually know how to play the music so it’s just torture for everyone.” 

  While sitting there for nine hours is a tedious thing, the weeks leading up to the audition  is equally time consuming. Students get the region music in early August and spend months on end practicing. They strive for perfection: trying to get every note length just right while staying up to tempo and also keeping consistent tone can be a difficult task. 

“Practice makes progress,” sophomore clarinet player Nathaniel Martin said. “No one ever plays a piece perfectly, but the more you practice the closer you get to achieving what one would consider perfect.” 

Once you finally feel confident enough to play the music comes what some people struggle with the most: keeping that confidence during the audition. You are sitting in a room with anywhere between 10-80 high school students. You try and maintain your focus and only worry about you and your instrument, but like all nerves work, you tend to worry about others and get in your head. 

“Anxiety is always the hardest part for me,” junior french horn player Anthony Zinsmeyer said. “But, once you do it it isn’t so bad. You realize that everyone in the room is going through the same thing you are, so I just worry about myself.” 

Once the never ending auditions are finally over, competitors wait for results. There are three bands. A first region band, a second region band, and a district band. All eight of these students achieved making the region band, meaning they all ranked in the higher quartile of their audition rooms. Following your placement, you get music; new music is always something fun. 

“Getting that new sheet music handed to you is great,” sophomore trumpet player Juan Madrigal said. “It just makes band so much more enjoyable, when you finally get a new song to play. It’s just great.” 

At the end of practicing for months, auditioning for hours, and practicing your new music for weeks, you get to play at one big concert. This year, Medina Valley actually held the yearly concert for the 5A region bands. It is a rewarding experience for the students who worked hard all season. 

“It’s rewarding,” senior percussionist Tyler Oberhauser said. “I guess I’ve been determined since freshman year, which is how I managed to accomplish so much. If you’re determined and you stick with it the outcome is always rewarding.”

In the end, sitting on that stage are about 80 kids. All from different schools, all different grade levels, all leaving different legacies behind. In the moments while I sat in the audience and watched as not only eight of my peers played, but also other kids my age played, I realized just how similar all of these teenagers are. They all are incredibly persistent, dedicated, and committed to their product; that is how they managed to achieve this. I congratulate not only the eight band members from our school that sat on that stage and performed in the region band, but also every other student that went through that audition process.