Ventura County Honor Band (VCHB)

All students in band are encouraged to audition for the VCHB just for the experience. We encouraged Quinn to audition but as a freshman his chances of getting in were not great. It helps that he has a weekly tutor (Mr. Freed) that is familiar with the music and happens to be a VCHB audition judge. When Quinn has an immediate goal, he is more likely to practice and work towards that goal — I think we all know that feeling.

Auditions were held on January 4 which was only the 2nd day back to school after Winter Break. Mr. Freed encourages Quinn to arrive an hour early so he can practice in a relaxed state. One of Quinn’s freshman friends, Matthew, who plays the baritone sax was also there at the same time. Mr. Freed also encourages Quinn to wear something a little bit nicer than school wear to make a good 1st impression.

Sounds from the warm up room.

Quinn had a 7:17 pm audition time and they go into a classroom alone in front of 2-3 judges. They play two sets of scales, a musical piece they were all assigned and have been practicing, and then a “sight piece” that is a piece of music they are seeing for the first time.

Quinn came out of the audition devastated. He felt like he really bombed it. He made an error in his first scale and it snowballed from there. No VCHB this year. But we were so proud of him for trying and putting himself out there. Very few of his friends and other freshman took on this challenge.

I told Quinn I heard another kid come out of his audition saying “I fu**ed that up so bad! I’ve never played worse in my life!”. That gave Quinn a sense comfort knowing we all have bad days and auditions are a one shot process.

But to be honest, I was holding out my own private hope because in 8th grade Quinn also thought he bombed it and he got 1st chair. And then this arrived Saturday night.

Quinn was absolutely stunned! He is the 4th of 4 tuba players to be selected and the solo freshman tuba player. I think this will be a great learning experience for him to play with more experienced tuba players that are also high school students. I have a feeling we are going to see some major growth.

I am always so proud of Quinn when he pushes himself outside of his comfort zone and tries things that take some courage, whether he succeeds or not. And this time was a win. WTG Quinn.

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