Thanks to Facebook’s fun little memories feature, a note that I wrote after I almost won a job in the Coast Guard Band in 2008 popped up the other day.  I thought I would share it, since I wrote it before I started this little blog!  Really interesting to read this and remember that day and what went right.  Too bad they didn’t pick anyone that day!  Haha, I wonder what things would be like if I had actually won the job…

CG Audition, 9/28/08

So I’m writing this blog sitting in my hotel room in New London, CT. I just got back from my audition for the Coast Guard band. It was a loooooooong ass day.

I got to the academy at about 9:20 (I had to be there at 9:30) and I checked in. My prelim time was tentatively at 10:55. Sweet. I even got a nice little piece of real estate in the common warm-up room between some lockers. It was really nice not having a clarinet honking away right next to me.

They ended up falling so far behind that I didn’t actually go until about an hour after my originally scheduled time. That was fine though, I usually expect those things to happen in an audition. I got into the audition area, which was their concert hall, and tried to settle down. I was really nervous. I took some deep breaths and tried to relax. Then I thought, “who cares, lets Weber this place up!” (the solo for the preliminary round was the Weber concerto no. 2, the 3rd movement) Luckily, I didn’t have to play the whole thing. And no sextuplets, woohoo!

Now for the excerpts. It was Brahms 3 2nd movement, Mendelssohn scherzo, and *scary music* Hindemith symphony in Bb. Exactly the same as it was in April. I played them, they were going pretty well. I even played the Hindemith ok. They of course asked me to play the first phrase of the Hindemith again, I had kind of flubbed some of the notes….

The last audition, the audition committee asked me to play the Hindemith again, and I totally dropped the ball and I couldn’t do it. This time, I maintained my focus and I totally nailed it the second time!!!!! Freakin sweet. Prelims are done.

I ended up having to wait almost an hour for them to come back with the results of our group. For those of you who don’t know, the basic protocol for professional auditions is they separate the applicants into groups, and once each person in a certain group has auditioned, they let the group know who has advanced. This is so that people don’t have to wait all day to know whether or not they have advanced to the next round of auditions. Anyways, I was in the third and final group of the day. At around 1pm, we found out that I and another girl had been advanced to the semifinal round! I was so excited!!!! I’ve never made it past the prelims in any audition, it was my goal for this audition.

They ended up only advancing 4 out of about 30ish in total. How exciting! We kept the same order for the semis, which were also screened (the committee cannot see the person playing) just like the prelims, so I was third. I got my own warm-up room, and we each got 5 minutes to practice in the hall, where the audition was taking place. I was excited for that, because my reed sounded really grainy during the prelims, so I wanted to pick something better. Here was the lineup….Mozart 1st movement, Shostakovich 9, Mendelssohn scherzo again, and Dahl Sinfonietta. Ok, so I’m going to be honest…I knew about a week ago that the preliminary round was only Bb…so therefore I did not practice my A clarinet stuff very much at all. Soooooo I was pretty nervous for the Mozart and the shostakovich. It went ok, they had me play the shostakovich again slower, and they requested that I not “clip” the ends of my phrases. Oops. Well I think I did pretty well. The nice thing about the later rounds is that you don’t really have to be a “robot”, and you can take more risks musically and I did.

It paid off, because I advanced again to the 3rd and final round. This time, it was the entire Mozart exposition and every excerpt on the list. I ended up going third and last, because the girl that was after me got cut. By this time it was almost 2:30 and I was freaking out. I might actually win this thing. Holy crap. I didn’t end up playing until almost 4:00, because they gave us each as much time as they wanted to give us. So I went in with the attitude that I have exceeded my own expectations already, anything more would be just icing on the cake. So I was much more relaxed, although still anxious, mostly because the screen was down now. Its weird playing when you can see the faces of the people judging you. I think I did ok, more flubs than I probably would have liked though. They had me play the stupid Hindemith twice, of couse they wanted it faster. Jerks. But I was able to do it. Whew!

So I was done. We weren’t sure if they were going to ask us back for the quintet round (we were given a woodwind quintet as part of our excerpts) or not. We waited for a good half hour or so before the committee came back with their decision. They decided to skip the quintet round and go ahead and hire someone. Except that they didn’t. That’s right, the committee couldn’t decide on someone to hire, they were completely divided between the three of us. They are going to give us comments on stuff that they think we need to work on for next time, and they invited us to come back and audition. I was really happy with what I did today and how much I accomplished in my own playing. I am exhausted. Playing three rounds spread out all day really took it out of me. But it was completely worth it! I had so much fun and I am so proud of myself. You can bet that I’m going to be back for the next audition!!!!

This has been the confidence boost that I really needed. I am actually good at this stupid instrument, and today proved it. I really don’t think that it was luck that I made it as far as I did. Maybe third time’s a charm? We’ll see in a few months I guess!

And I took a few pictures that day too, haha…

One reply on “#TBT”

Thanks for sharing that! I was there that day – I went to all three of those stinking CG auditions that year because something went wrong in every one! I appreciate that you shared how much you flubbed up and still advanced. Anyone on the committee can tell if someone’s fundamentals are solid, mistakes aside. My goal for this is to win, of course, but more than that, my goal is to lay it all out there on the stage with no reservations. Time and time again, that attitude is what I hear from people who actually win, much like what you shared.

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