Three OHS Orchestra members preform in Texas with All- National Orchestra


Richard Ong

Standing students are recognized for their National Orchestra participation. Students being honored from left to right include Herbie Rand, James Rand, and India Enter.

At Owatonna High School, a tradition of excellence is prominent.  More often than not, students do not simply participate in activities at a high school level, they excel. An example of this excellence can be seen in three of our orchestra students. Seniors Herbie Rand and James Rand, and junior India Enter have been selected to participate in the 2016 All-National Orchestra presented by the National Association for Music Education (NafME).

This National orchestra is made up of the nation’s finest high school musicians. The students had to go through an audition process to be in the group. This process started with an option to perform and record a new piece or submit a prior All-State audition. Mrs. Sandra Justice, orchestra teacher at Owatonna, said, “They submitted their own auditions- I only had to approve and submit a recommendation letter.”

If a student was selected, they then auditioned again with a randomly provided piece to determine seating. To prepare for this process, students had to take the music step by step. Herbie Rand said, “I played it a little bit every day, then brought it to my private lesson teacher, Natalie Filipovich.” Rand went on to record once he and Filipovich felt confident in Rand’s abilities. The same process was done by James Rand, who also takes private lessons from Filipovich, and India Enter, who takes private lessons from Joseph Rodgers. These three students are not new to auditioning for intense ensembles, so the audition process went smoothly overall.

High caliber ensembles are no new feat for these three students. All- State Orchestra is a prerequisite to being in National Orchestra. Herbie and James have been in this highly regarded ensemble for three years, and India has been in for one. Some other ensembles the students have participated in include Dinner Ensemble at OHS, Big 9 Select Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Youth Symphony (India Enter) and numerous quartets and trios with other students. The three students all take private lessons at the String Academy in Owatonna from their respected individual teachers. Mrs. Justice said, ‘ By participating in National Orchestra, we are earning national recognition for our orchestra.”

When in the ensemble, extensive practices will take place to prepare for the Nov. 13 concert. The students chosen to participate have already received their music and have been busy rehearsing. Rehearsals will take place six to eight hours a day for four days in the week, led by a world-class conductor. The conductor for the 2016 National Orchestra will be Dr. William LaRue Jones, Director of Orchestral Studies at the University of Iowa. The pieces they will be performing will be difficult, some more than others.

The students are held to high expectations. India Enter said, “Even though you know the music before going, you really have to push yourself to practice as long as they want you to.” It is difficult to keep up endurance through eight hours of rehearsals, but students grow extensively from it. James Rand said, “It’s always a little tricky on the first day, but after three or four hours we all start fitting in together.”

As for their promising futures, being a member of these groups will be helpful to the students. Scholarships are often offered to All State ensemble members for college, as all three musicians have seen. Both Rand brothers do not plan on majoring in music, but they will continue to play as long as physically able. These scholarships will help them to continue participating in orchestras throughout college. India Enter is not sure of her future plans yet, but is leaning towards a major in music performance.

The trio  and Mrs. Justice traveled to Texas on Thursday and will have their final performance on Sunday.