Students spend high school struggling to find their place. In some cases, however, students excel so exceptionally in their niche that they are recognized in a regional competition.
Senior Katelyn Terpstra and sophomore Jillian Plante were recently selected to the CMEA Southern Region Music Festival. Both girls took part in an audition in November and exceeded the cut-off score for their voice/instrument.
Their journey began in middle school. For Plante, her love for music did not emerge as quickly as she hoped. After testing her luck with the trumpet and choir, she found her heart wasn’t in it. However, she spontaneously joined jazz band in eighth grade and found the trombone. Plante refused to give up even when faced with the challenges that came with learning this instrument and worked before and after school to improve her skills.
On the other hand, Terpstra was instantly inspired to pursue her love for singing in eighth grade after music teacher Stephen St. Georges started teaching at Long River Middle School.
“He was truly an inspiration and taught me to love and appreciate the music on the page,” said Terpstra.
When given the opportunity to audition in early November, Terpstra and Plante prepared and practiced extensively. Both girls described feeling nervous the day of the audition, but preparation greatly improved their attitudes.
“Auditions are extremely nerve wracking if you are not confident in yourself,” said Plante.
This was Plante’s first audition but Terpstra returned as an alumni to the audition and improved tremendously. Last year, her score was just above the cut-off number. This year, her score exceeded that number by thirty points.
They have now begun working with Choir Director Sean Lewis on their regional performance music as the festival will be held at Middletown High School on January 13th and 14th. Their audition performances also provided them with the opportunity to audition in February for All-State status.
Plante plans on using this opportunity to improve her performance since the first audition.
“I feel like I didn’t give my all in the regional audition,” said Plante. “So, this was my chance for redemption in a way.”
Terpstra has been working to prepare another set piece, two scales, and a difficult sight reading piece but feels her practice and dedication will serve her well when she faces another audition.
“I’m feeling very confident in my abilities to receive All-State musician status,” said Terpstra. “My family, friends, and Mr. Lewis, made sure I kept that confidence.”
As these musicians devote countless hours to practice and preparation, they hope to continue these efforts as they pursue careers within the arts.
Plante plans on majoring in music, pursuing a career in film, and aspires to play professional theater. She addresses the stereotype that many people “cringe” when one mentions their desire to seek a career in music. Plante thoroughly dismisses this theory and is confident her love for music will allow her to succeed.
“I’m determined to have music be a part of my life forever,” said Plante.
Terpstra, inspired by positive role models in the music field, has decided to pursue a career in music education and has high aspirations to become a high school choir teacher.
The opportunities and experiences Terpstra and Plante have been exposed to throughout their years at Woodland have undoubtedly impacted their overall high school experience. Plante believes the music program is often overlooked and should garner more focus due to the positive effects it has proven to have on classroom learning.
“Why are we neglecting this friend-fostering, stress-relieving, education boosting program called music?” wonders Plante.
Both musicians credit the music program for the formation of some of their most valued friendships and for the education it provided and Terpstra knows how music has helped her.
Terpstra said, “[Music] kept me focused and made my experience at WRHS even more memorable than I ever could have thought.”