March 15, 2012 at 8:33 a.m.
Chisago Lakes High School (CHLS) will have a special ambassador in Washington, DC in a few months by the name of Cecilia Strother. In a town such as D.C. that is home for much of the nations’ “top brass”, she may feel right at home.
As a trombonist Strother, now in her junior year at CLHS, auditioned for a position with the Minnesota Music Educators Association’s (MMEA) All-State Music Ensembles while a sophomore and was chosen to be a member of the 2011-2012 All-State Concert Band as a trombone player.
Stemming from Strother’s participation with All-State ensembles, she received an invitation from the National Association for Music Education to participate in auditions for the All-National Honor Ensembles, which convene in Washington, DC June 21-25.
She was required to complete application forms and to submit audition recordings in January of this year. All submissions were juried and selections were made with notification of acceptance and an invitation to participate in the All-National Concert Band made through high school Director of Bands, Joshua Anderson.
The trip to Washington, DC will involve rehearsals with nationally renowned conductors. Participants will also tour many of the monuments and museums, observe the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery and tour the White House and Capitol. Students are additionally slated to attend a special concert and reception with the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, and participate in a seminar about government policy and becoming an advocate for music.
Events will culminate Sunday, June 24 with the participation of each of three All-National Honors Ensembles (Orchestra, Concert Band and Concert Choir), in a performance in the main concert hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Strother has worked hard to utilize her musical talents but a great deal is owed to others as well. Chisago Lakes Schools have maintained a commitment to strong musical programs and unique learning opportunities such as the recent, shared concert and educational exchange with Concordia College, right here at CLHS.
Director Anderson’s own commitment and energy, and his ongoing ties to the ‘outside’ academic world, serve to expand the musical horizons of students and community alike, said Strother. Much is owed as well to Wendy Frerichs, a low brass instructor at the Forest Lake Music Connection. Strother commented that, Wendy has been her personal trombone guide since she first played entering CL Middle School. “Wendy has consistently risen to meet each and every opportunity and challenge, by helping to prepare the audition and performance materials that are continually coming to the fore. Wendy has created fun and interesting new experiences for solo and ensemble performance at the Music connection and her own commitment to performance excellence has made a clear impression on Cecilia,” added Strother’s father Jeff.
The opportunity to participate in an All-National Ensemble is an acknowledgement of Strother’s talents and hard work. Her participation will also be a tremendous learning opportunity. When she returns for her senior year Strother is sure to bring some measure of that experience back to CLHS and to the community whom she will be representing in this brief ambassadorship.
As it was worded in the letter of acceptance from the National Assoc. for Music Education, to all who will participate in this unique opportunity, “This concert will feature a select group of outstanding student performers representing schools from communities across America…Thank you for your commitment and outstanding accomplishment.”