By Cora Webb, News Editor

On February 20, the Keenan orchestra students traveled to Hand Middle School to audition for the 2013 Richland One District Honor Orchestra. Four students, all taught by Ms. Christi Lewis, Lead Orchestra Teacher, emerged as members of the 2013 Honor Orchestra.

Junior Jocelyn Grace, who made fifth chair in the first violin section, began playing the violin when she was three years old because her father required her to do so.

“My dad use[d] to be the Lead Orchestra Teacher in the district, so I don’t really have a choice,” Grace said.

Grace has a long musical background that began with the violin then switched to the piano. She realized piano was not for her and then went back to playing the violin.

“I played in orchestra at Greenview Elementary since the third grade. I continued orchestra at St. Andrews Middle School and then here at Keenan. I have been participating in honor…orchestra since seventh grade,” Grace said.

Regarding the auditions, Grace was very nervous and self-conscious about her playing. She credits Lewis with her success in the auditions because Lewis helped her read through the music and get her fingerings right.

Future goals for Grace include continuing to play throughout high school and maybe playing the violin in college. Grace also hopes to make the Regional Orchestra next year.

Another new member to the Honor Orchestra is Senior Patrick Tyler. Tyler made seventh chair in the cello section, yet has been playing in the orchestra for only one year.

“Honestly, I started playing the cello because it was the cool thing to do in elementary [school],” Tyler said.

Tyler was inspired by his cousin to play in the orchestra. Seeing her play at her age led Tyler to play on the level he is playing on now. He also credits Lewis with his success at the auditions, yet prior to the audition, Tyler expressed the normal anxiety expected before an important event.

“My feelings were all over the place. I was nervous, but in the room, I was more relaxed,” Tyler said.

Tyler’s main goal for himself in relation to the orchestra is to represent his school the best way he can. He tries to help achieve goals his school has not reached before.

Junior Jonathan Evans, who is the top bass student in Richland One, came out making first chair in the cello section after a flawless audition.

Evans encourages others to play the cello because it’s something to do and a person may enjoy it. It could help improve someone’s problem-solving skills, yet to Evans, it is a passion.

“It was something about its sound and look that just grabbed me,” Evans said.

Regarding what goes into preparing for an audition, Evans says players want to make sure they know the music, but they also want to make their playing stand out from the other people auditioning. Also, adding style and dynamics, just how the composer intended, allows a person to get higher chairs.

Evans’ brother and orchestra directors have been the most influential in helping him improve his playing skills. Aside from them, he did a lot studying and practicing on his own leading up to the audition.

Prior to the audition, Evans was confident. He was not nervous at all compared to other auditions he has done. For the future, there is no question as to whether or not Evans plans on going professional or not.

“Absolutely everything I am doing now is preparing me for that. I am currently working hard to get me a new instrument that will…cost an arm and a leg to improve my technique and tone. I also play extremely hard music. Some of it is on the professional level of difficulty,” Evans said.

Overall, Evan’s main goal while he remains in the Honor Orchestra is to be a good section leader.

Sophomore Cedric James Wells, who made seventh chair in the cello section, began playing in the orchestra in the fifth grade.

“I started playing because the violin was too small,” Wells said.

Wells blames the movies for his fascination with the cello.

“The movie Drumline just made me love music overall, and when the soloist came out with Jamie Foxx, I fell in love once again,” Wells said.

Before the auditions, Wells was nervous to be selected by the judges as one of the top cello players in the district, but now that he has made it, Wells has some goals he is striving to achieve.

Wells’ main goals for himself in regards to the orchestra are to let others know how the arts can enlighten them and to do the best he can. He also credits his success at the audition to Lewis because she helped him to encourage himself.

Altogether Grace, Tyler, Evans and Wells have brought praise to Keenan as a whole and have shown their love for the Arts Department through their practice for and success at the 2013 Honor Orchestra auditions.