Band takes four to KMEA

Anika Nyp and Sophia Comas


Four select Manhattan High band students joined the rest of the performing music department last weekend in Wichita for the KMEA All-State conference where kids auditioned to participate in high-level performing skills.

Senior Josh Brandt, junior Jonothan Wood, sophomore Jessica Park and freshman Neo Kim traveled with both choir and orchestra students where they played music previously given to them a month ago. 

“It was kind of nerve wracking because, you know, it’s State,” Kim said. “The best people understand if you make one mistake, people probably judge you until the rest of your life.”

During their spare time, the band practiced as much as they could before traveling to Blue Valley Northwest. Once there, they were separated into groups determined by the ensemble the students got into — 5A/6A Band. 

The students were there for three days altogether. The first two days were put in place in order for them to practice and the third day was set aside for the final performance. 

“It was a bit scary [with] it being my first year doing it,” Park said, “and I felt some pressure but overall, I think that feeling gave me a good push to prepare well.”

The auditions were hosted before the performances and the process was comparable to the auditions for regional KMEA. First, they auditioned with a scale. Then, they were assigned a chromatic scale and finished it all off with sight reading. 

After the audition process, the students who made the attempt were soon notified of whether or not they made it into the All-State group. Park found out one early morning when her older sister Joanna, a cellist in MHS’s Chamber orchestra, woke her up with the news.

“My sister woke me up one day before school and told me I got into state,” Park said. “I was pretty excited.”

The kids who went took their time with the extended weekend, leaving on Thursday morning and staying until Saturday. According to the group, the concert itself went smoothly considering the short time they had to practice their pieces. 

“It was an amazing experience,” Park said.” To have played with so many talented musicians is truly an honor.”