Statesmen String Ensemble will perform at the Missouri Music Education Association (MMEA) Conference on Jan. 26. The orchestra held a concert on Jan. 24, during second hour in Knight’s Auditorium for students and staff to hear the songs they will play at MMEA.
Statesmen String Ensemble musicians have been preparing for the event with extra evening practices.
“We’ve been working hard since the beginning of the school year with extra evening rehearsals to get to this point,” senior Maddie Wood said over text.
Extra coaching has also helped the ensemble prepare.
“We’ve done so much preparation work for MMEA. Our music is difficult, so we’ve had extra rehearsals after school, brought in members of the St. Louis Symphony to help coach us, and spent lots of time practicing individually. This performance is the realization of our work, and though it’s been difficult, MMEA is sure to be the highlight of the year for us,” senior Celia Alexander said over text.
One student expressed gratitude for their teacher and conductor Andrew Pulliam.
“I’m really excited. We’ve all worked so hard for this performance and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m really thankful that we’re getting this opportunity to perform at MMEA. It is an honor to be able to play at such a high level,” senior Yuki Ishiyama said over text.
Senior Eli Suppelsa also credits Pulliam.
“Mr. Pulliam is pushing us to be our very best. This performance is a really big deal for us, being one of only six schools from across Missouri playing in it. As a group leader I’m proud of how far my section and our ensemble as a whole have come,” Suppelsa said over text.
One student says Pulliam has set a new standard for orchestra.
“MMEA is the peak of my highschool orchestra career,” junior Josh Delay said over text. “Pulliam [has] set a new standard and truly revived the orchestra program.”
The pieces the ensemble is playing are difficult, more so than what they’re used to.
“I’m super excited for MMEA. We’ve all worked super hard to get the pieces to that state that they’re in. These are the most difficult pieces most of us have played but they sound really good now,” senior Eric Miranda said over text.
“It’s been really fun to work on these great pieces,” senior Ethan Sanders said over text. “There’s a lot to discover with music.”
In addition to being challenging but fun, the music has brought the ensemble together.
“I’m so excited that after all the work the orchestra has put in the last few years we get the opportunity to perform at MMEA. It’s really brought the Statesmen Ensemble together with all the rehearsals while working on high level music and I’m so glad we get to go for my senior year,” senior Hannah Silverman said over text.
MMEA is also an opportunity for musicians from all over the state to meet and become friends.
“I went to All State last year and am super excited to go back and see old friends,” Silas Garrett said over text. “I am super proud of everybody in the orchestra for working hard to make it to MMEA. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, and we’ve been working at this for years.”
Photos in slideshow by Lydia Urice