Junior chosen by OSU Honors Band

By Emily Beuter — Junior Alyssa Novak is in her seventh year of playing trombone and is first chair trombonist in the Symphonic Band at the high school. She loves to play trombone. When an opportunity to improve her playing arose, Novak jumped to the occasion. The opportunity was auditioning for The Ohio State University Honors Band.

“I spent a lot of time working on the audition,” Novak said. “I found out about a month later that I got in. I was really excited because I knew I worked really hard for it.”

Novak was one of the selected high schoolers to be in the OSU honors band, a weekend long program. Novak explains in order to be accepted, she had to send in an audition. The audition consisted of playing several solos of contrasting styles such as fast or slow. Students are selected based on their playing ability.

“To be selected out of hundreds of students across the state for an honors band such as the one at OSU or Ohio University is quite an honor,” band director Chris Irwin said.

Upon arriving Novak auditioned for chair placement where she got to meet the faculty and trombone professor. Novak was selected to be the first person on second part.

“I think OSU is more competitive since when I went to Ohio University’s Honors Band I was first chair overall, “ Novak said.

Later that night the she was treated to a concert by The Ohio State University Wind Symphony.

“I thought they were really good,” Novak said. “They were better than most of the bands I’ve seen.”

Hours of rehearsal were in store for the day two to prepare for the concert the next day. The OSU honors band was conducted by Dr. Russel Mikkelson who is their head director.

“I really liked him,” Novak said, “ He got along well with the students and other directors. He tried to be friendly and welcoming.”

There was also a two hours working with the trombone professor. Novak experienced the different directing styles and played several class A pieces. She also learned the OSU fight song and alma mater.

“It was good to play through more music that we wouldn’t necessarily play here[GlenOak] just so I’m familiar with more pieces,” Novak said.

Novak thought the music was easy to learn on her own but hard to put together in the group.

“It’s a lot of work but you get to be around a lot of people who are like minded and you get to make music,”Novak said.

There were a variety of students there from across the state. The only other local schools that were also represented were Lake and Perry.

“It was a nice experience to meet new people and make new friends,” Novak said.

Although honors band lasted only a weekend, Novak took a lot from it. She first learned that OSU is too big of a school for her. Not only did she add to the repertoire of music she has played and met new people, but she has learned more about how her future will go. Novak has many more auditions to come as she wants to major in music education in college.

“It helped me a lot with putting together auditions, being with other groups and to see how other people do things,” Novak said.

Being in the Kent Stark Concert Band, OU Honors Band, OSU Honors Band and among other honors are being stacked up on Novak’s resume for college. A music camp in Illinois is next up for Novak this summer.

“Alyssa consistently seeks out opportunities to better herself,” Irwin said. “She has a strong commitment to being the best and constantly works to improve even the smallest details of her playing. She consistently has shown a progression toward being a collegiate-level trombonist.”

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]