PAWTUCKET — All-State honors are not just for high school athletes. In the music world, the All-State auditions for six ensembles that are a great honor for young musicians selected.
And two Saints made it.
Adelina Steinmetz, a senior from Cranston, was selected to play flute in the senior division orchestra, and junior Camille Santos, from Providence, was chosen for the senior division guitar ensemble.
Organized by the Rhode Island Music Education Association, the festival auditions hundreds of students each November, each hoping to be selected to play in an exclusive ensemble in the spring. The process is not for the faint-of-heart. This year, nearly 200 students vied for three flute chairs in the senior division orchestra, and 60 auditioned for just 16 spots in the senior division guitar ensemble.
“It is extensive,” said Timothy Boisvert, who teaches music at St. Raphael Academy.
“The pieces they are playing are professional-grade. The audition pieces are actually beyond what they would play in school.”
Since coming to the Academy three years ago, Boisvert has enhanced the music classes and extracurricular clubs and hopes to encourage more students try out for one of the All-State musical programs, which also include percussion and vocal ensembles.
Each Saint took a different approach to the auditions.
Steinmetz, who is also a member of the SRA instrumental band, and accompanies the liturgical choir during school Masses, started studying the musical selection about four months before the auditions. The review committee can ask students to play any part of the composition, so they must be prepared. And while both Steinmetz and Santos have auditioned before, each time can be intimidating.
Each candidate must be able to play scales, demonstrate sight reading, and be able to play a required solo selected by the judging committee that they are unfamiliar with.
This year, Bach’s “Prelude No. 22” was chosen for the guitar piece and Mozart’s “Concerto in D” was the flute selection. As Steinmetz explained, you only get about four minutes to prove yourself, and it’s a lot of pressure.
“I was super nervous for this one because I was sick, but also because I’ve had so many college pieces that I’ve been preparing so I didn’t have the time to focus as much on the Mozart piece as I would have liked to,” Steinmetz said.
For Santos, it was a different road to the auditions. After a years-long break from playing, she decided to pick up the guitar again at the beginning of the school year.
“I went back [to guitar] because of how relaxing it was, and things have just been stressful.” She said her father also missed her music and inspired her to begin playing again,” she said.
Santos has been playing classical guitar for several years, mainly with the Providence Youth Guitar Ensemble, conducted by Wayne Kilcline. With encouragement from Kilcline, she decided to go for it just two weeks before the auditions. Her natural talent earned her one of the coveted spots in the ensemble.
“I was surprised, actually, because there were a lot of guitar players that auditioned, and I didn’t really think that I was going to be one of the ones to get in because I was very nervous that I really didn’t do as well,” she confessed.
Steinmetz is also involved with music outside of school. A flute and piccolo musician since seventh grade, she plays for her church and with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Winds Ensemble, which she particularly enjoys.
“I rely on music, she said. “It’s my way of expression, it’s my way of connecting with people, and I think it’s like my way of making the world better …” Steinmetz plans to study music education and language in college and is already teaching a few students.
The Senior All-State Orchestra concert will be at Veterans Memorial Auditorium on March 15, 2020. Tickets will be sold the day of the concert. The Senior Division All-State Guitar Ensemble concert will be at Providence College on March 8, 2020.