Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Memorial High Students Selected for All-State Orchestra

Left to right:  Meredith Aucock, Jonathan Keith, Catherine Cai
Three seniors at Memorial High School were selected recently for the 2015-2016 Texas All-State Orchestra, one of the highest performance honors given to young musicians statewide.

Memorial High violinists Catherine Cai and Meredith Aucock, as well as the bass player Jonathan Keith, competed against thousands of students from across Texas for coveted seats in the 200-member All-State Orchestra.

Catherine and Jonathan were named to All-State Symphony Orchestra. Meredith will perform with the All-State Philharmonic Orchestra during a state conference.

This is the fourth year in a row that Catherine Cai was selected for this honor. She played viola her freshman and junior years in the All-State Orchestra and earned a seat in the highly competitive violin division both her sophomore and senior years.

For Catherine, the four-years-in-a-row state ranking is a family affair. Her sister, Elizabeth, who is four years older and a Memorial High graduate, was named to All-State Orchestra for four years in a row, too. Her sister also played violin.

Watching and hearing her older sister play in All-State Orchestra helped motivate Catherine to compete. “As a freshman, I was both worried and hoping about All-State. I had seen and heard concerts with my sister, but I was still not sure that I’d make it [into All-State],” she recalls.

The young musician notes that violin has more competition, but her love for viola and violin have kept her juggling instruments. “I do love both. I couldn’t give one up,” she says.

Catherine has applied for early admission to Washington University in St. Louis, a private college in St. Louis, Mo. She’s interested in an integrated program there in philosophy, neuroscience and psychology, also known as PNP.

Her sister, Elizabeth, attends Boston College in Massachusetts where she currently majors in applied psychology and music performance.

Memorial High’s All-State Orchestra bass player, Jonathan Keith, may pursue a major in music performance at the University of Houston or Baylor University.

Meredith Aucock, another All-State violinist, may pursue studies in French and public policy and global heath. She’s undecided at this time on a college choice. 

The All-State Orchestra competitive process begins with auditions hosted by 28 regions. Individual student musicians perform for a panel of judges and are then ranked by instrument. From these rankings, a select group of musicians advance from their region to compete against musicians from other Texas regions in area competitions. Highest-ranking musicians judged in area contests qualify for All-State Orchestra.

Early next year, these three Memorial High students will take part in rehearsals led by nationally known conductors during annual Texas Music Educators Association Clinic and Convention. The All-State Orchestra will perform near the end of a San Antonio planned meeting. 

Memorial High Orchestra’s directors are Bingiee Shiu and Danielle Prontka.


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