State Orchestra

Olivia Talbert

 On the violin, sophomore Lindsay Baltzell is truly one of “the best of the best”. This recognition comes after her selection to perform in the All-State orchestra ensemble.

     Students who auditioned were the most skilled in their region and participated in their district’s Honors performance on Dec 1. After the District performance, students were given the opportunity to audition at the state level Jan. 5 in Salina.

     “Preparing for any audition, of course, requires plenty of practice,” Baltzell said. “I really tried to focus the time that I had – which for me personally was quite short – working on the parts that were difficult for me, as well as mentally preparing myself for the nerves I anticipated I would feel. It was a stressful preparation because I originally wasn’t going to audition at all, but [I did] because I have great teachers who pushed me to try.”

     This preparation built up to a high pressured, blind audition in front of the state’s top music educators. These educators score the players and choose who participates in the All-State Orchestra ensemble based on scores.

    “Naturally, I felt nervous going into my audition…I went in telling myself that regardless of the outcome I would be proud of myself for trying…This was actually one of my first auditions that I felt like I did alright. I was satisfied with my performance, but I definitely did not feel like I did well enough to make it in,” Baltzell said.

     Despite these doubts, Baltzell’s audition landed her among the best violin players from around the state.

    “My mom texted me telling me to go see Mrs. Barnhill about something, and that’s when Mrs. Barnhill told me I made it. I was so surprised, and honestly confused because for the first few moments I couldn’t tell what she was talking about. But once it all hit me I was so happy. I could not believe what I had achieved,” Baltzell said.

     Baltzell will perform in the All-State instrumental ensemble on Feb. 23 in Wichita.

     “The music is difficult, but I think this performance will be a great learning experience for me… I’m most excited about playing alongside the best young players in our state. I’m going to be exposed to so many things that will help me as I progress with my violin playing, and that sort of enlightenment for me is something I love,” Baltzell said.

     Baltzell would like to thank her teachers and advisors for helping her achieve this accomplishment and encourages any young musicians who feel afraid to audition.

    “A lot of credit goes to them for directing such a great program that makes opportunities like these possible for Shawnee Heights students to take. And, if you’re someone who has considered doing an audition like this, or anything similar to it in general, just go for it. Whether you make it in or not, this will teach you so much, and maybe you’ll surprise yourself like I did,” Baltzell said.


Students are selected via a rigorous audition process that starts at the district level. Students who perform at the district level are then eligible to audition for selection to the All-State instrumental ensembles. Thus, the All-State student musicians are truly “the best of the best.”

All-State Orchestra Concert

Century II Convention Center, Wichita KS

Concert Hall

February 23, 2019 – 5:00 PM