Maize and Maize South band and orchestra students accepted into honor groups

SCKMEA Band and Orchestra groups perform together on Saturday, December 3, at Wichita East High School


Leah Brown

In the SCKMEA orchestra concert, there were a total of 104 orchestra students. The SCKMEA orchesta performed in front of their familes’ and friend’s with a total of three music pieces.

Leah Brown and Ray Mathia

A student sits down in a small room with a music teacher that they have never met. They play the chromatic scale and a predetermined music selection. The conductor puts an unfamiliar looking piece of music in front of them. After struggling through the rhythm, notes, and melody of the music, the teacher says, ‘thank you.’ The wait officially begins. 

Thirty-two students from both Maize High and Maize South passed the audition for selection into the South Central Kansas Music Educators Association Honor groups. SCKMEA selects annually students to perform a concert each year; this year, there were approximately 435 band and orchestra auditions from students all over south central Kansas.

MHS Senior clarinet player Kate Crisler was selected as one of the students to have the privilege to play in SCKMEA honors concert. “I am nervous for the solos, because we have not got the music yet, and since I am first chair I might have a solo, because the solos typically go to first chairs,” Crisler said. Graphic by Ray Mathia
List of all of the Maize and Maize South High Orchestra and Band selected SCKMEA students who had the privilege of participating. Graphic by Ray Mathia.

The auditioning students were expected to prepare for the audition by practicing the excerpts several months in advance and made it their goal to be familiar with them by October 30th. 

Greg Bergman, the current President of SCKMEA believes that the program is incredibly special and important to students due to its diversity in programming opportunities.

“One of seven KMEA districts, SCKMEA is home to many outstanding music programs,” Bergman said, “I have been a member of SCKMEA since 2001, but my recent involvement with the Executive Board has given me a new appreciation for the importance of our organization. SCKMEA honor ensembles, clinics, workshops, scholarships, and awards benefit hundreds of music students and their teachers each year,” Bergman added. 

After making it through the auditions, the students are brought together for a day of learning and performance with nationally recognized musicians.

Dory Thompson, the Maize South orchestra director said, “I am excited for our students who are participating and can’t wait to watch them work with our wonderful clinician.  I especially enjoy the concert at the end of the day.”

Lee Anderson is the clinician for the orchestra group and Peter Lillpop is the clinician for the band group. 

Maize South junior Allison Kovach was excited to audition for SCKMEA again and was selected sixth chair in the violin section this year.

“It was mostly a matter of ‘why not?’ Kovach said. “ If I can say this without sounding too confident, I have set a precedent of qualifying for this orchestra and it’s a yearly routine; there’s no reason for me to suddenly quit something like this,” Kovach added. 

Shelby Goss and Connor Siler are the Maize High Band Directors. Goss understands how significant the experience can be to help the members of the band build their own musical skills.

“They’ll benefit because they get the experience of getting to play with other musicians from around the area, and they get to play with all the best musicians from around the area,” Goss said, “They got the opportunity to audition for this and those kids are so excited to have gotten selected. So, it’s just going to give them a new kind of unique experience to work and play with other people that they don’t usually get to play with,” Goss added. 

Maize High Senior Kate Crisler has been playing the clarinet since fifth grade, enjoying her spot as first chair and the opportunities that come from having that position. 

Maize High SCKMEA orchestra student, Mack Carlo had the privilege of getting to perform on December third, at Wichita East High with the rest of her SCKMEA orchestra selected peers. “I definitely did not practice enough but I feel great, because I have been able to form great relationships with my SCKMEA peers and show the audience everything we’ve learned,” Carlo said. (Leah Brown)

“I am first chair, and I have been auditioning for SCKMEA since my freshman year, and it’s just a fun opportunity to get to play with new people and challenge myself,” Crisler said. 

Maize High orchestra director Kristy Smith has spent the past several years overseeing both orchestra operations for the district. She feels elated that her orchestra students are participating in SCKMEA and why being a participant can be practical for students’ futures.

“Several former Maize orchestra students over the years have gone on to earn scholarships for college by participating multiple years with this SCKMEA orchestra,” Smith said.

Maize High sophomore Mack Carlo placed twelfth in the viola section and believes the competition has brought out the absolute best in his own abilities.

“Honestly my lesson teacher wanted me to audition and some friends said it was really fun. Music has always been very important to me, and it keeps me motivated. I always have something to look forward to. But mostly, a big reason I auditioned is because orchestra is such a powerful thing that brings people together and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who needs a community and who wants to be a part of a wonderful experience,” Carlo said.