George Stevens clarinetist Alexander Newman will play at the 2021-22 Maine Music Educators Association Band, Orchestra and Chorus All-State Festival Band, Orchestra and Chorus All-State Festival in May PHOTO COURTESY OF GEORGE STEVENS ACADEMY

A gust of woodwind: Ninth-grader scores as clarinetist

BLUE HILL — George Stevens Academy freshman Alexander Newman has been selected to perform in the band this coming spring at the Maine Music Educators Association 2021-22 Band, Orchestra and Chorus All-State Festival in Orono. Newman, who achieved the third highest score as a clarinetist, will perform in the classical division.

GSA music teacher Phelan Gallagher says Newman was named “First Clarinet, 3rd chair,” which he says is an impressive accomplishment for a ninth-grader. “We are excited to hear what he can do in the coming years!”
Newman said he had plenty of experience with auditions before he came to GSA, thanks to a dedicated middle-school band director who “encouraged us to work hard and seek out auditions.” That this year’s auditions, however, were virtual made it more challenging.

The clarinetist says “not having the experience of hearing other auditioners warming up, getting immediate feedback from the judges or any of the other traditional components of an in-person audition” shook his confidence. “I felt that I didn’t play my best in the recording.”

So, he was pleasantly surprised when he received his scores.

“I am honored to be attending the festival as a player in May,” Newman said. “I also want to say a big thank you to Mr. Gallagher for all his efforts on my behalf, offering me musical feedback, recording my audition, and all of my other seemingly endless requests. I am so glad to have him as a mentor.”

Newman and the other festival participants are tentatively scheduled to gather next May at the University of Maine in Orono.

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