DAVIDSVILLE – Samuel Worst had the opportunity to shine on the national level.
The Conemaugh Township Area High School junior, who plays the trombone, was selected to participate in a virtual weekend held March 4 through 6 as part of the National Association for Music Education’s All-Eastern Honors Ensemble.
Worst, of Davidsville, is the first student at Conemaugh Township to be chosen for the recognition since 2003.
“I was so excited to be selected, I really didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I was a little overwhelmed, and the more I thought about it, the more excited I became.”
To reach the All-Eastern level, students have to work their way through music festivals at the district, regional and state levels.
“You have the option to audition to the All-Eastern Honor Ensembles,” Worst said. “I sent that in about a year ago. The videos were judged and I scored high enough to be selected.”
Worst was one of 716 high school students from Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont to receive the prestigious honor and to be named to the All-Eastern orchestra, symphonic band, mixed chorus, treble chorus or jazz ensemble.
The Zoom experience included keynote speakers, masterclasses with professional musicians and rehearsals with conductors, as well as opportunities to learn and network with colleges and universities and to participate in mock auditions.
“It was very interesting,” said Worst, who was selected for the symphonic band. “On a normal year, you’d travel to some state – this year would have been Connecticut – and I would have meet with hundreds of students from all over. This year, they tried to give us the same experience, just online.”
As part of the event, students will individually record their performance piece from home, and the recordings will be edited together to produce a virtual ensemble for a concert performance that will be premiered April 23 at the 57th National Association for Music Education Eastern Division Virtual In-Service Conference.
Catherine Kasun, Conemaugh Township Area School District’s fourth through 12th grade band director, said it’s an honor and a privilege to work with Worst.
“It’s truly a wonderful thing, for sure,” she said. “He put in the work last spring, just in case they were going have it. For me, as an educator, seeing a student not knowing if it’ll happen, but still putting in the work at such a high level is incredible to see that motivation.”
Kasun said it’s great to have Worst represent the school.
“He is very motivated to find ways to continue to grow,” she said. “He’s not very good at just sitting still. He always wants to be doing something new and likes a good challenge that will make him become a better musician.”
Worst has been playing the trombone since fourth grade.
“Around festival time, I’ll practice every day or every other day to really work on the audition sections or the actual music,” he said. “I’ve also played with a bunch of different ensembles and brass bands, and I enjoy that.”
Worst plans to pursue a career in music education.
“I haven’t decided anything, but I’ve started to look into some colleges, but I am certain that’s the career path I’d like to go in to,” he said.