“Receiving musical selections in late July, students, on their own time, prepare for a series of auditions come winter, ultimately showcasing the plethora of skills learned in ensemble and alone,” Senior Colin Whisenant says. 


Katy ISD music students put their cultivated skills to use, competing in UIL regionals in their fields, just in time for the holiday season. Students are given lines to learn and hopefully master. After online auditions, students this year are facing in-person auditions again for the first time. Getting back into the rhythm of region preparation pushes students to be flexible. 


“The audition process provides an experience both similar and dissimilar to other opportunities available to high school students. Sitting in the audition room–simply a transformed classroom–is a unique feeling. Listening to the thirty other auditionees builds suspense and stress, and after thirty minutes of anticipation, students perform the brief, thirty second cut. This is comparable to the job interview process, with hours of preparation resulting in a singular moment to impress a group of judges. The skills gained in preparation and the long Saturday morning are valuable for beyond music and high school. For those selected during the audition process, the weekend clinic and concert provide another unique experience where students take on the mantle of professional musicians, and prepare in the same way groups as the Houston Symphony do. UIL regionals allow fine arts students to showcase their skills, experience the audition sequence, and potentially have a weekend unparalleled in the public system,” says Whisenant.   


While region band is a great opportunity for students to hone their skills, many students are required to compete which can lead to less than satisfactory situations. The top groups in band, orchestra, and choir are all required to audition for region, creating an influx of highly skilled players that may not actually want to participate. This can make the audition process even longer. 


“Because of the vast number of students who audition, certain strictures are placed on Region. Unlike many other audition and interview processes, the students have to sit through everyone else’s performances, a truly nerve-racking scenario. Feedback is limited and students who do not do as well as they wish often struggle with knowing what to improve, how to practice,” says Whisenant.


Another concern around the region audition process is the technical approach to music. The music for region auditions is usually very technical and more focused on the mathematical side of music rather than the passion side. 


After the 2020 COVID19 lockdown, region is an added stress that prepares students for the challenge of the professional world. Cinco Ranch has done well at region in the past and despite the challenges of the previous year, our music students are expected to succeed.