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Music majors put in work for TMEA region

Emma Baumgardner

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Luke Thiessen and Pedro Najar perform “Rhapsody in Blue” by composer George Gershwin at the Fall Dance Concert dress rehearsal. They are both piano majors, who will take part in the TMEA region audition process. Photo by David Winter.

For musical fine arts majors, the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) region audition process is a familiar one. Students perform in front of judges and are ranked against students from 22 other school districts.
For senior Pedro Najar, the audition process requires a lot of practice beforehand.

“I’ve had to cancel lessons two weeks in a row,” he said, “just so I can focus on this music. A lot of independent hand practicing to the point where you know exactly how each hand goes, so when you put it together it’s easier. A lot of hours a week on the piano.”

This will be Najar’s first time participating in the process as a piano major.

The guitar program’s competition took place last Friday on Oct. 20. Senior Henry Duaine has placed in the region ensemble three years in a row.
“We prepare pieces to performance level on our own time” he said. “We are given two excerpts and a brief solo to learn a month before auditions. It’s all outside investment.”

The guitar program had 14 members place in region ensemble this week.

TMEA region auditions are a familiar process for vocal majors. Senior Molly Leach branched out of her comfort zone, however, by auditioning as a tenor–a voice part that is generally sung by males.

“I decided to audition for Tenor 1 this year because, as a senior, it is my last year to participate in TMEA choir,” Leach said. “I figured I would have nothing to lose. Beginning last year, girls were allowed to audition for parts traditionally filled by males, and I thought it would be cool to change it up a little. I was mostly curious to see how I would place as a female in a traditionally male section.”

Leach placed first chair among the tenors, meaning she was ranked first among all those who auditioned in the region.

“I did not at all expect to get first chair,” she said. “I was quite shocked when I heard the news. I am just glad that a girl was able to place because it verifies that opening every section to every participant was the right thing to do.”

For many fine arts majors, region is an opportunity to showcase their musical talent and see how they compare with students from around Texas.

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Music majors put in work for TMEA region