Arts organizations hold auditions for next year

Junior Kaitlyn Chheng rehearses for her choir audition video.

All performing arts organizations will be conducting virtual auditions and sign-ups over the course of March to May. Although some dates are still to be determined, teachers encourage students to begin preparing soon. 

Choir released an interest form for students who would like to join. To officially sign up, students must register Choir as a class during registration, then a five-part audition will take place sometime during March. Students will have the chance to sign up for Google Classroom class purely for choir auditions. They will have to turn in videos of them completing scales, a prepared piece, sight reading activities, a song of their choice and if the student is trying out for Chamber (advanced mixed choir with emphasis on traditional choral music and contemporary a cappella) or Rhapsody in Blue (advanced women’s choir including traditional and show choir), choreography. 

“We did [virtual auditions] last year, so I already kind of have a feel for it,” choir teacher Lisa Lopez said. “There were some kids who felt more confident. Everybody seemed to do it just fine.”

Despite complications of the pandemic and this past year, Lopez motivates all students, experience or not, to join choir. The process will be much easier this year to accommodate possible online learning issues.

“We want people to feel comfortable and know that our auditions are not going to be as intense as they normally are,” Lopez said. We’re going to do whatever we can next year to get everybody caught up together and make friends, so choir is what it used to be.”

However, color guard will not require an audition to be part of the team. Students will be able to sign up during registration and meet with their counselor to accommodate their schedule. 

“We usually have an audition in person, but this year we decided to cancel [them] because not everybody has access to a flag at home. So anybody can join the color guard,” color guard coach and band and orchestra adviser Katelyn Takahashi said.

As for orchestra, band and drumline, auditions will include Blue Thunder Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, Advanced Jazz Band and Intermediate Jazz Band. All of these programs fall under Instrumental Music, which satisfies University of California a-g requirements for visual and performing arts. Auditions for these areas will be due by Monday, May 10. Students without any experience and want to learn an instrument can join Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Band without auditioning. 

If a student is part of a performing arts program for four straight years, they will receive the School of the Arts Diploma, completing the School of the Arts Pathway. Many students also take AP Music Theory or IB Music HL, satisfying a year’s worth of requirement for this diploma.

“Since we are online this year, we are trying to make the audition process easier by using Flipgrid. We would also like to remind all of the guitarists, bassists, drummers and pianists that we always have extra room in jazz band because we accept multiple players on each instrument in those classes,” band and orchestra adviser Corey Wicks said. 

For Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Orchestra and both jazz bands, the audition will include playing a passage of music and a scale. If students are interested in drumline, they will undergo a virtual clinic, or meet the instructor while gaining hands-on feedback. More information on what song and preparations are needed to be made will be sent out within the week via Google Classroom for current performing arts students. The instructions have been posted on Instagram, @whsbluethunderband, and the School of the Arts website, as of Mar. 9. 

“I think [auditions are] better this way, just because it’s more accessible for everybody. It takes a lot of pressure off of auditioning in person. When you’re in person, you have one shot to play really well, versus virtually on Flipgrid, the students can practice and look at the music as much as they want before they submit their videos,” Takahashi said. “I suggest students, practice the music, practice their skill and turn the best video that they can possibly get.” 

By Remy Wong, Sports editor
Photo Courtesy of Kaitlyn Chheng