Congratulations to McKinley High Senior, Avah Rodgers - she has been selected to be part of the Ohio Music Educators Association’s (OMEA) All-State Band! Avah was one of 1,200 high school musicians from across Ohio to audition for the ensemble. Just 12 were selected for her instrument, the trumpet; she is the only student on the All-State band representing Trumbull County and the first in at least 17 years, possibly first-ever, to represent Niles McKinley High School! “The first time I heard I’d made the band was when [Principal] Mr. Rovnak said something on the morning announcements [at school],” Avah said. “Once I realized he wasn’t joking, I was just shaking. I was so surprised to hear I had made it!”
Not only did Avah make the ensemble, but she also earned the 9th chair with her audition. She had one month to prepare her audition pieces, which consisted of two etudes (pieces that demonstrate skill), and one piece of her choosing. “I chose a piece from Class A, which, of course, is the hardest,” Avah says. “I sat in my basement and practiced multiple times a day over the course of that month and finally submitted my performances [to the audition committee] on the very last day. I wasn’t all that pleased with my audition so I never thought I had a chance.”
Avah and her fellow musicians in the All-State Band will meet for the first time at the OMEA conference in February. They will receive their pieces, rehearse, and then perform a concert at the highest level of musicianship to close the Association’s conference.
McKinley High School band director Stephen Orlando says, “Mrs. Broennle [assistant band director] and I believed that Avah had the potential to achieve this goal. We were happy to give her the opportunity to try out. She worked hard and took on extra lessons as she prepared her audition materials. We're thankful to our friend and colleague Mr. Joe Yaksich, Mineral Ridge Band Director, for his time and expertise in fine-tuning her musical abilities during those extra lessons.”
Avah, who has been playing trumpet since the sixth grade, says she’d love to continue her musical and marching career in college. She’s applied to nearly a dozen schools with The Ohio State University currently sitting at the top of her list. In the meantime, Avah will continue to lead the Niles Red Dragon Marching Band as President and first-chair trumpet and strive for her next goal of becoming class Valedictorian.
*Photo courtesy: Memory Lane Photography