Springfield Flutist Joins District Band

Posted on March 2, 2011

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In the world of the performing arts, it takes a lot of skill in order to go far. Being accepted into District Band is no exception. The District Band is an instrumental group containing the best musicians from the schools of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. This year, Springfield was proud to be represented by Senior Lina Sorg, a remarkable flutist. Wanting to know what Districts and the audition process was really like, The Chronicle decided to ask Lina a few questions.

First, could you describe the process of auditioning for Districts?

The audition is a really demanding process, but definitely beneficial in terms of preparing students for future auditions, etc. There are three components to the District Band audition: scales, solo, and sightreading. Anyone auditioning on flute is required to know 10 scales, including C major (no key signature), three octaves of the C chromatic (essentially playing through almost every playable note on the flute) and the first four scales with sharps and flats in their key signatures. Only three are asked at the audition, but they could be any of the ten. Each instrument is also required to learn a difficult solo piece. The piece for flute this year, Fantasie by Gabriel Faure, was four pages long and filled with difficult rhythms and fingerings. At the actual audition, I only had to play two brief sections of contrasting tempo from the piece, but knowing the full piece is essential because no one knows what sections the judges will ask. Finally, there is a sightreading section, where I had to play an excerpt from a piece I had never seen, heard, or practiced. It’s pretty intense.

How many people are in the band? Who is allowed to try out?

There were about 120 people in District Band this year from schools all throughout Bucks and Montgomery County. 14 flutes were selected. Initially, I placed 9th, but after reauditioning upon arrival I was ultimately ranked as 7th. Technically I think anyone can try out, but having a private teacher is strongly suggested. Based on my experience, it really is necessary to have a private teacher. My teacher helped me with the piece, and brought sightreading material each week, so [a private teacher] definitely an asset.

Was the audition difficult? When did you start practicing?

The audition definitely was difficult because you’re given one chance to prove to the judges that you thoroughly know the material you’ve worked so hard on. It’s definitely nerve-racking, especially because so many musicians audition. I started rehearsing the solo piece over the summer, and worked on it pretty consistently for about 5 months.

How often did you have to go to rehearsals?

The District Band festival was three days, from Thursday, February 10th, to Saturday, February 12th. It was held at Spring-Ford High School, so I was there for all three days, and stayed overnight with all the other musicians. We rehearsed basically all day Thursday and Friday from early morning to 9:00 pm and all of Saturday morning. The concert was on Saturday afternoon, and then the festival was over. So it was kind of a one-shot event, rather than rehearsals interspersed over an extended period of time. We essentially had to get to know each other, both as people and musicians, in a very short time.

How much harder are the pieces for districts compared to the pieces in a band like our Symphonic Band?

The pieces are definitely more difficult than regular school band music. We played a very extensive and challenging repertoire, and the music involved a lot of personal practice. There were five main pieces, more than we perform at a typical school concert and most of which were longer than school music as well. My personal favorite was called “Godzilla Eats Las Vegas.” There were so many tempo and style changes, and it involved sound effects and movement from the musicians which followed a specific storyline (of Godzilla terrorizing Las Vegas), which was super fun. I learned a lot from Dr. Deborah Sheldon, our guest conductor from Temple, and met some really great people. It was an awesome experience.

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