By Caitlin Marsch, Current Staff
After a safer-at-home audition, West Bend West High School junior Brionna Banovich has been selected as one of the top eight student bassoonists in the state of Wisconsin.
On March 30, Banovich learned that she was accepted into the Wisconsin School Music Association State Honors Band, an elite ensemble with student musicians from across Wisconsin. Banovich has been playing bassoon for about five years and is also a member of the WBHS Wind Ensemble, an audition-based subset of the school’s band program.
Due to the social distancing laws surrounding COVID-19, Banovich auditioned from home, instead of playing in front of a judge.
“I had to prepare five major scales, a chromatic scale, two sight readings, three minutes of a Class A WSMA solo, and technical excerpts from pieces we’re playing in our school’s band,” Banovich said.
Her video audition came at extremely short notice, so some expectations were altered.
“The excerpts from band pieces were in place of an assigned etude that bassoonists were supposed to play,” Banovich said.
At first, Banovich didn’t even intend to audition, due to a lack of time to prepare during the winter. However, due to a shortage of bassoonists, the organization searched for applicants by contacting band directors.
“Emails were sent to the band directors of bassoonists across the state who have auditioned in previous years and received alternate positions or higher,” Banovich said.
WBHS band director Leah Duckert-Kroll served as the ensemble’s woodwind coach in 2015 and 2016. She outlined some of the expectations required of Banovich.
“Her camp days will consist of long rehearsals with a university conductor,” Duckert-Kroll said. “When she isn’t in rehearsals, she’ll be in sectionals with her coach. It’s very intensive. Because she’s playing with the best of the best in our state, her level of performance and professionalism will have the highest expectations ”
The camp takes place during the summer. This is the first time since the eighth grade that Banovich has been able to participate in the ensemble.
“I worked extremely hard freshman and sophomore year but I didn’t get in,” Banovich said. “All of the practicing paid off, though, because I’d like to think I’ve improved a lot as a bassoon player because of it.”
Duckert-Kroll agreed that the hard work paid off, and helped her get into the ensemble.
“I am so proud of her!,” Duckert-Kroll said.
(Top image: Brionna Banovich poses with her pet rabbit. Photo courtesy of Banovich.)