For the first time in Bubbler Band history, a musician from its ranks will be taking a seat at the Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association’s All-State Orchestra.
Adam Dieck, a junior at Boiling Springs High School, earned a place in the orchestra by virtue of an audition video. He will be playing his bass clarinet at the PMEA All-State Orchestra Concert at 2 p.m. April 21 at J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster.
Boiling Springs Band Director David Yinger said the honor was well-deserved.
“Adam is a great kid, I’m so proud of him. He has worked tirelessly toward his goals the past couple years, and it is all paying off for him now. As his teacher, it really is a pleasure to see this kind of success coming his way,” he said.
Dieck talked about the road to the state orchestra for this week’s five questions.
Q. What instrument do you play, and how long have you been playing?
A. My primary instrument, and the instrument I made state orchestra on, is the bass clarinet, but I also play tenor saxophone quite a bit and play sousaphone during marching band season. I have been playing the clarinet since fourth grade, but switched to bass clarinet in seventh grade and have been playing it primarily ever since.
Q. Would you describe the process for being selected to All-State Orchestra?
A. My route to state orchestra was a unique one. I tried out for district band this year for the fourth time, and since I got first chair overall at auditions I was selected for PMEA District 7 Orchestra in addition to district band. They usually do not take a bass clarinet for orchestra, so I was extremely fortunate to get first chair the year that they did. As soon as I found out I was in district orchestra, I tried to find out what the next audition orchestra for bass clarinet was in PMEA. Lucky for me, they were doing an “at-large” audition for instruments not usually featured in state orchestra, and bass clarinet was part of the at-large audition group for this year only. I had to submit and record an audition video of a selected excerpt and submit it before I went to district orchestra, and I found out that I had made it when I arrived at Region V Band.
Q. What was your reaction when you found out that you would be the first Bubbler to make the All-State Orchestra?
A. I was overjoyed when I found out that I had made it. At regional band, I was going to find out whether or not I made it before I had to re-audition for state band (you can only do one state festival, so if I made it to orchestra I would have to be marked as ineligible for state band). When the District 7 chair pulled my band director aside and told him that I had been selected for the all-state festival, there was an immense feeling of validation. This is my fourth year doing PMEA festivals, and it hasn’t always been easy to stay positive. I had made it my eighth-grade year, and so I expected to make it when I tried out my freshman year. However, I placed two chairs away from getting in and I was devastated. The next year, I was finally was eligible to go to regional and state festivals (freshman are not allowed to go to any festival level above districts; the order goes Counties-Districts-Regionals-All States) and I got first chair at district auditions. However, in my audition to go to regionals, I was beaten by three to four points and couldn’t go. This year, however, I made every festival I tried out for and got my first pick of state festivals in state orchestra. When I made it, it was like all of the years of hard work, disappointment, and auditions were worth it. To be the first from my school to make it to a state festival in six years and the first ever to make state orchestra is just incredible and I can’t wait to represent Boiling Springs in Lancaster this April.
Q. How would you describe the role of music in your life?
A. Unlike a lot of people who participate in PMEA festivals, my plan is not to major in music in college or to explore music as a career path. I certainly plan to play in college and probably for the rest of my life, but I don’t see music as something I’d be employed in. Because of this, the role music plays in my life is much more focused on the abstract and less on the concrete world of college auditions or music theory.
One of the major things it has taught me is that a good work ethic is key to achieving your dreams. If you want to make an audition band, you have to make sure that you have the music on time and you have the time to practice and perfect the piece. It has been a wonderful way to meet new people and talk with other motivated and passionate people about the same things you care about. I can confidently say I make at least one new friend at every new festival I go to. Sitting in a section and making music with people you’ve often times never met is an amazing experience and a great exercise in trust and teamwork.
Overall though, music is just something that I do to de-stress and get a break from the monotony of high school academic life. Every time I play, I am completely focused on the moment and the music, not on the homework I have due tomorrow or the test I have the next block. For that moment all I have to worry about is playing and listening. It’s such a great way to relax, and that is in itself crucial to my life.
Q. What advice or encouragement would you give younger students just starting out on an instrument?
A. The advice I have for people just starting an instrument is to identify why you’re playing it. The way you approach playing for a career and the way you approach playing an instrument as a hobby are very different. The key, however, is to have as much fun with it as possible. If you find yourself struggling to go and practice music, then you’re doing something wrong.
Experiment with different instruments, different music and different styles of playing the instrument. There is no “right” way to do it, whatever makes you happy is what is right. For some people, that means playing simple show tunes or pop songs in marching band. For others, that means striving to be the best at that instrument with intricate solos and etudes. Whatever you do, I recommend giving as many instruments as possible a try before deciding on “the one”. My advice is to have as much fun as you can while playing an instrument, whatever that means for you.