MENC Honor Ensemble Students Share Life-Changing Experiences

As MENC opens auditions for the 2011 MENC All-National Honor Ensembles, students who were members of the 2010 groups reflected on the experience.

Guest Conductor Dennis M. Layendecker directs the string ensemble.
At the concert, he said, “I can’t tell you how very proud I am of these young people.”

Audition materials for the National Concert Band, National Mixed Choir, National Orchestra, and the National Jazz Band are now available. The 2011 Ensembles will perform during MENC’s Music Education Week, June 23–27, in Washington, DC.

MENC leaders, music educators and family members heard the inaugural MENC National Honor Ensembles at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC last June.

Reflecting on the 2010 concert, students discussed what they took away from the ensemble experience and shared how music impacts their lives.

Jessica Hiemestra, a junior at Chantilly (VA) High School, said she enjoys the collaborative process of making music. She played in National Concert Band and also performs with local symphonic and jazz ensembles. “To play with talented students from all over the country was really special,” said clarinetist Hiemestra. Drew Ross is her music teacher.

Faren Calix, a soprano from Kenai, Alaska, said, “Music means more to me than anything else. It helps me be me, helps me clear my mind, and makes me feel strong. Music has opened many doors for me. I’ve made many friends through my musical adventures. [I was] super excited for nationals in Washington DC.” Her music teacher is Renee Henderson.

2010 Honors Choir students maneuver through a challenging piece of music.
André J. Thomas conducted the choral group.

Choral student Lauren Dwane from Kinnelon (New Jersey) High School, said, “Music has positively impacted my life. It provides an outlet to express emotions as well as a goal to work towards in both schoolwork and musical practice. The rewards are great, allowing me to see different parts of the country and meet friends from all over that will last a lifetime.”  Her music teacher is Charles Linnell.

A new group of students will have a chance for similar opportunities in June 2011. The MENC All-National Honor Ensembles Task Force will oversee the audition materials, which will be reviewed by qualified MENC members. Only students of MENC members are eligible to apply.

In addition to the honor groups, music educators are encouraged to bring their music groups for other performance opportunities at Music Education Week .

2011 Audition Information

Read more about the 2010 concert, program and conductors

 —Roz Fehr, September 2, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education