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250 audition for new arts school

February 07, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- The halls were alive with the sounds of students.

Some did vocal warm-ups, others rehearsed on musical instruments and quite a few chatted on cell phones, listening to pep talks from parents and friends.

Dreams were about to take center stage, but first came the hardest part -- waiting.

About 250 area students arrived Saturday at South Hagerstown High School to audition for a spot in the inaugural class at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

They already had completed the formal applications. Now, they had to perform before panels of judges.

Listening for their names to be called, many students admitted this was the most nerve-wracking moment in their lives.

But to Michael Thorsen, principal of the new school for the arts, it was one of the best days ever.

"It's heartwarming to see the intensity and hope, all of the different emotions, that go into this event," he said. "I think it's a wonderful experience for these students."

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Thorsen said you could feel the excitement and anticipation, noting while auditions were scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., some people were waiting at the doors at 7 a.m.

The daylong event featured auditions in theater, visual arts, instrumental music, vocal and dance.

Some of the sessions were fairly short, while others, such as dance, could last as long as two or three hours, Thorsen said.

"It depends on the genre," he said. "A lot of different things go into each process."

Thorsen said judges included teachers and working professionals from the area.

Erin Mettille, 14, a student at Smithsburg Middle School, arrived shortly after 9 a.m. with an art portfolio under her arm.

"I'm a little nervous," she said. "But I did sleep last night."

Erin said she brought some of her sketch books to show the judges, but also would be required to draw a still life during her audition.

"I was told I would be in there for two hours," she said. "I like what I've done and think I'll do pretty well. I'm just not sure what to expect from the people who will be judging me. Still, I'm pretty confident."

Britteria Jones, 14, of Williamsport High School, said she was as prepared as she possibly could be for her audition on violin.

"I'm going to have to sight read, do scales and perform two of my own selections," she said. "I'm a little bit nervous, but I think I'll do well."

Britteria said she was thrilled to be able to participate in the auditions, calling the event "a lifetime opportunity."

"I'll never be able to find a school like this," she said. "This is a very important day. Today determines the rest of my life."

After completing her vocal audition, Alexis Barone, 13, a student at St. Mary Catholic School, was a little worried.

"I don't feel confident that I did a good job," she said. "Things I normally do right, I didn't do well."

Alexis said she thought she would have an opportunity to do warm-up exercises for her voice, "but I was the first one up and had to start singing right away."

She wasn't too upset, though. She also was participating in musical theater auditions, "and I'm much more prepared," she said. "This is what I really want to do. Someday, I want to be on Broadway."

Brian Noel, 14, also was a little nervous following his guitar audition.

"I guess it went OK," he said. "I'll just have to wait and see. But I'm really glad I did it."

A student at Springfield Middle School, Brian said he had to do scales, two pieces of his choice and a number selected by the judges.

The hardest part?

"That would be sight reading," he said. "That was definitely the most difficult."

Fifteen-year-old twins Jaclyn and Jessica Madden expected to be at auditions for most of the day.

Students at South High, both girls were auditioning in a number of areas. Jaclyn was auditioning for the flute, as well as visual arts (photography), while Jessica was participating in vocal and dance auditions.

"We've been getting ready for this day for four months," said their mother, Mary Sellers. "There's a lot of work involved. But it's worth it, no doubt. This is a wonderful opportunity. I'll be pacing while I'm waiting. But I know they'll do a great job. I'm very proud."

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