The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Students to Perform in CBDA All-State Honor Groups

By: Graphics Editor Kevin Chen

Members of MSJ Band and Orchestra will perform in the CA Band Directors Association’s (CBDA’s) All-State Honor Groups at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts at 8 PM on February 13 for the High School Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony, and 9 AM on February 14 for the High School String Orchestra, Concert and Symphonic Band as part of the annual CA All-State Music Education Conference. The concerts are free-of-charge and open to the public.

The conference is a four day event from February 11 to February 14 at the Fairmont Hotel and San Jose Convention Center, and serves as a culmination of music education and talent from all across the state. Numerous workshops for music educators and performances from groups such as the CA State University Fullerton Wind Symphony fill out the schedule.

But the highlight of the conference are the CBDA’s All-State Honor Groups, which consist of the Junior High Symphonic Band, Concert Band, String Orchestra, and Jazz Band, and the High School Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Jazz Choir, and Jazz Band.

MSJ students wishing to participate in the Honor Groups submitted recorded audition tapes at the end of November 2015. The tapes, consisting of excerpts from a predetermined music piece and scales, were reviewed by CBDA judges who announced results online at the beginning of January. Admitted students will be going to San Jose on Thursday, February 11 for live placement auditions before beginning approximately 13 hours of intensive music rehearsal in preparation for the final concerts on February 13 and 14.

The students accepted were:

High School Symphony Orchestra:

Senior Austin Pan

High School String Orchestra:

Freshman Jade Zhang

High School Wind Symphony:

Senior Tiancheng Cheng and Zachary Wang, and Junior Stanley Zhang

High School Symphonic Band or Concert Band:

Seniors Kevin Chen, Sara Tsai, and Savana Wang, Juniors Leon Ming, Jeanine Tso, William Zeng, and Kathleen Zhou, Sophomore Allison Chan, and Freshmen Emeline Tu and Robert Yang.

The conference initially began as the CBDA All-State Band Festival, held in Tracy in 1958. For the next four decades the festival moved between different cities including Antioch, Bakersfield, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Monica, and Stockton. In 1997, due to financial issues, the CBDA board decided to remain in Fresno permanently. From there the conference grew in size, and the inclusion of various other groups such as the CA Music Educators Association, CA Orchestra Directors Association, CA Alliance for Jazz, and the American Choral Directors Association over the course of a number of years eventually formed today’s drastically larger conference.

The decision to move the conference from Fresno to San Jose was voted on by the general membership of the CBDA at the 2013 conference. Reasons cited on the CBDA website for the change in venue include the Fairmont Hotel possessing plenty of space for exhibits as well as cheaper and nicer rooms for all of the students participating in the honor groups. In addition, the San Jose Convention Center is large enough for the honor group rehearsals and costs about $17,500 to rent as opposed to the $20,000 required for the Fresno Convention Center.

Overall, the move to San Jose will provide a better conference experience for all attendees, and proves to be a welcome change for MSJ participants who will no longer have to make the several hour drive to Fresno that was required in previous years. “I’m pretty excited that we don’t need to drive three hours to get to the conference this year. It’s a big time saver, and we’re a lot less tired once we’re there,” said William Zeng. MSJ students who wish to listen to the free concerts are also encouraged to attend for an incredible musical experience.

This year’s conference is also particularly exceptional for Juniors Leon Ming and William Zeng, and Seniors Kevin Chen, Savana Wang, and Zachary Wang, who have been four, five, or six-time participants of the honor groups. Chen and Zachary Wang have been part of the honor groups each year since first auditioning in seventh grade, and look forward to enjoying their last year at San Jose.


For a sample of the High School Symphonic Band from 2015, click here.

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