Six EPHS musicians earn All State orchestra, band recognition

Following extensive audition process, performance takes place March 19

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EAST PROVIDENCE — Six talented musicians at East Providence High School recently earned commendation as members of the Rhode Island Music Educators Association’s All State orchestra and band. The students were recognized for their distinction at the February 13 school committee meeting.

Kareem Sanni Thomas, a junior, earned a place on the All State Orchestra for the timpani (kettle drum). Thomas was also selected for his efforts on the snare drum, but needed to make a choice between the two instruments. Shawn D’Arezzo, also a junior, earned All State Orchestra notice on mallets. Donovan DaSilva, a senior, earned a spot on All State Orchestra on bass clarinet. Alex Flowers, a senior, earned a position on All-State Band for the trombone. Pauline Gregory, a senior, was chosen for All-State Orchestra on Violin. And Teddy Mason, another senior, was selected All-State Orchestra on Trumpet.

According to EPHS music teacher and band director Marisa Martinez-Silva, the process of earning the honors began prior to the start of the current term with applications. The students then took part in auditions in November of last year when they had to prepare a solo piece of music as directed by the Rhode Island Music Educators Association. Each had to prepare scales and were required to do sight reading, playing music they have never seen before at the ready. They then went in front of a judge during their allotted audition time and performed all of the pieces they had prepared.

The students were given points based on a rubric. If their scores were high enough, they were chosen for either the band or orchestra.

“They were auditioning along with hundreds of other students from around the state of Rhode Island,” Mrs. Martinez-Silva noted. “The students who make these ensembles are considered the best in the state.”

Following a few rehearsals, including two intense sessions in the days prior to the show, the All State band and orchestra will perform at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium on March 19. The band takes the stage at 11 a.m. followed by the orchestra at 2:30 p.m.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.