Weston uses his talent in orchestra

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 15, 2000

Features Editor

Sept. 14, 2000 10 PM

If you don’t toot your own horn, perhaps no one else will toot it for you.

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However, that’s not the case with Blake Weston, an eighth grader at Charles Henderson Middle School.

The talented young clarinetist auditioned for the Montgomery Youth Orchestra Sept. 9 and so impressed the judges with his ability to play scales and sight read and with his solo performance that he was selected as a member of the youth orchestra.

Blake said he would have been disappointed had he not been selected because he had worked very hard for more than a year to prepare for the audition.

"I auditioned the year before and I didn’t make it," he said. "I didn’t really know what to expect. I wasn’t prepared and I really hadn’t practiced that much."

Blake said he wasn’t disappointed when he was not selected after his first audition.

"After I got there and saw all of the talent, I knew that I wasn’t going to make it, so I wasn’t disappointed," he said. "I knew I wasn’t ready but I knew what I had to do to get ready. I had a year before the next audition and I practiced really hard, especially the last four months. I was prepared this year so I would have been disappointed."

Say what one will about movies, but good movies can make a difference. Had it not been for Mr. Holland’s Opus, Blake might not be where he is today.

"About three years ago, I saw the movie and I was so inspired by it that I wanted to learn to play the clarinet and then be a member of an orchestra," he said. "I learned and now I have this opportunity and I’m looking forward to it."

Being a member of the Montgomery Youth Orchestra is a commitment and it’s one Blake is willing to make.

"Practice will be every Saturday morning from 9:45 until noon at Huntingdon College," he said. "I know that I might have to give up some things and miss out on others but this is what I want to do. If I do my best, I will gradually move up in the orchestra over the next five years. I want to go as far as I can with my music."

Amanda Ford, band director at CHMS, said being selected as a member of the Montgomery Youth Orchestra is a special honor because the level of performance is so high and the literature is much more difficult.

"I have been teaching band for 13 years and Blake is by far the most gifted clarinet player, at this age, that I have ever had the privilege of working with," she said.

"Blake has been given the talent but he works hard and practices faithfully. His parents are to be commended for supporting and encouraging him. Blake is an outstanding musician and an outstanding young man."

Ford said it is rare, in this area, for a student to have an opportunity to play with an orchestra.

"There are not a lot of string programs and much of the great music was written for the symphony," she said.

"We have band transcripts of some of the music but it’s not the same thing."

The advantages of being a member of the Montgomery Youth Orchestra are many. In addition to being exposed to orchestral literature and working and performing in an orchestral setting, members have a unique opportunity to expand their musical endeavors and a chance to complement their other musical training. There are also opportunities for music scholarships.