Elisabeth Lewis is a senior at Charles O. Dickerson High School. She is also an accomplished trumpet player who plans to attend a college out of state for a degree in Music Education. Lewis has heard back from the numerous schools she applied to and was accepted at and now just has to make the decision by May 1 where she would like to matriculate in the fall. She had to film herself in an audition and send the video to each school. Some schools required a follow-up where she played live over Zoom. Elizabeth is the daughter of Aaron and Hope Lewis of Trumansburg.
Lewis began her senior year as a hybrid student, going to class two days a week and being remote three days a week. After Thanksgiving, she decided to go completely remote because she did not want to have to quarantine should classmates, teachers, or staff test positive for COVID-19. “If I had to quarantine, I would have to stay in my bedroom and away from my family,” she said. “That would make it extremely difficult to record for my auditions.”
In a normal year, Lewis would be involved with many musical events and competitions, but this was not a normal year. Even so, she was chosen for All State and All Eastern concerts because of her expertise playing the trumpet. All State is a NYS School Music Association (NYSSMA) concert and Lewis was chosen to play in a quartet. Usually, she would have to play, be judged at a NYSSMA conference, and receive a high score to be invited to participate in the All State concert. In past years, all of the invited students would come together in the spring for workshops and practice sessions before the concert was held on a Sunday. Because of the pandemic, the last time NYSSMA held a conference was in Lewis’ sophomore year where she received a score of 100 out of 100. Because of that top score, Lewis was invited to join the virtual concert to be broadcast on April 11, 2021. Only seniors were allowed to participate this year and she was the only Trumansburg student to receive an invitation.
Lewis had to record her part with the Wind Ensemble in December and send it in. She did a lot of practicing first and then recorded herself by placing her device on a music stand. Someone connected with All State collected all of the videos and expertly edited them together to form the various groups. Recently, she received a link to the virtual performance on April 11 and was able to view the entire concert. When Lewis’s selection of “Celebrations” was performed, all of the people in her quartet were visible on the screen at one time. “The experience was okay. I had the All State experience before, but this time there were no meetings, no practices, no in-person concert, and we did not stay in a hotel with everyone,” Lewis explained. “Thursday through Saturday, we would practice for the concert on Sunday. This year, it was just me recording from home.” Lewis did like watching the concert though.
Using her last NYSSMA score, Lewis was also chosen to participate in the All Eastern concert which pulls exceptional musicians from states in the eastern part of the country. It was much more competitive, but because of her NYSSMA score of 100, she was a top candidate and the only one chosen from Trumansburg. Unfortunately, this concert was virtual as well. Lewis had to apply and received an email telling her that she had been accepted.
“I had to practice at home and then there was a virtual weekend where I worked with the conductor and others in my group. This group had more musicians, but I never saw them. We would play along with a recording and I could see the conductor, but none of the other people. It was unusual to play along with a recording and not with other musicians,” Lewis mentioned. “I could hear myself and the recording, but none of the other instruments. We played ‘Shimmering Sunshine’ for our part of the concert.”
Lewis had yet to see the concert by the time of this interview, but it was broadcasted on YouTube on Friday, April 23. This concert group was much bigger than for All State and Lewis would only be on screen when her group was playing. She is excited to see the final product, but thinks it feels a bit weird because she recorded a while ago and is just now able to see the concert. Lewis did consider the experience to be a good one because she could meet with others from all over the east coast within chat rooms. “It was very nice to be with and talk to other musicians who like music as much as I do,” she explained.
“This year has been okay…but it has been hard adjusting to everything, working from home, and not knowing how next year will be. I have been vaccinated and we are now back at school 4 days a week from Monday through Thursday and things are better. I am playing in Concert Band and Jazz Band. Concert Band is split into different sections with up to 20 kids in each group, some in-person and some virtual. Jazz Band has 15 kids and we all rehearse together. We hope to be able to have an outdoor concert in the spring somewhere which will be really nice,” concluded Lewis.