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Students' goal is All State Jazz Band

October 04, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG - Erin Kittel and Matt Baer would like nothing better than to be chosen for the 2006-07 All State Jazz Band.

To that end, the Smithsburg High School students are preparing their applications and auditions, according to their band director, Gary Rupert.

A student must attend an independent (private), parochial or public school in Maryland, be in grades 10, 11, or 12, and meet the class membership designations in order to be eligible to participate in the All State auditions.

Audition music is prescribed to all applicants, who must have their videotapes in by Oct. 28.

A junior, Erin plays the trombone. She said she tried out for All State Jazz Band once before but didn't make it. She is hoping this year will be her year.

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"I have to get the application filled out," she said, noting she wasn't too worried about that.

The audition - well, that's another story.

"I'm nervous playing alone in front of people," Erin said.

She said she was glad when she learned that wasn't how the auditions are done.

She must instead arrange to have a videotape made of her playing her instrument to certain specifications. "Trouble is, I'm nervous about cameras, too," Erin said.

For the past two years, Erin has been taking trombone lessons from Rupert.

"I started with the trumpet in the sixth grade but switched to trombone in the middle of that year," the 15-year-old said.

When asked to rate her prowess on the instrument, Erin said she is pretty good. "Some of the high notes are hard, but I'm working on it," she said.

When she's not playing the trombone, Erin is busy with her studies, soccer and running track.

Matt is a 17-year-old senior who has been playing the trumpet for nine years.

"My dad played trumpet, so I learned to play on his," Matt said.

He had six years of private lessons but now is studying with Rupert.

Matt is making his first attempt at getting a seat in the All State Jazz Band.

"I have to do the videotaped audition, but that's not bothering me," Matt said. "If you mess up, you can always do it again."

When not playing the trumpet, Matt enjoys soccer. But as a National Honor Society member and aspiring pre-med student at a college as yet unknown, Matt is busy with his studies.

Both members of the Smithsburg High School Jazz Band, Matt and Erin said the group performs at concerts, for charity functions such as Habitat for Humanity, and in public performances such as a planned event at Valley Mall in Halfway this month.

If they make the All State Jazz Band, they can look forward to activities at Towson State University in January and at the East Coast Jazz Festival in February.

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