All-Star Ensembles Assemble


From left to right: Sarah Park (11), Anthony Yoon (11), Johannes Eberhart (11), Sam Malekzadeh (12) (Photo by Amber Chen)

Amber Chen, Opinion Editor

After years of hard work and countless hours of consistent practice, student musicians juniors Johannes Eberhart, Sarah Park and Anthony Yoon and senior Sam Malekzadeh have been rewarded with high honors: acceptances into regional, statewide and nationwide honor ensembles. 

These large-scale 

ensembles, with varying regional magnitudes, are operated by distinguished music associations that collaborate with renowned conductors. Although they are run by separate associations, the intense audition, rehearsal and concert structures all similarly reflect the virtuosity of the ensembles.

“It’s not as much of a group as it is a festival,” Eberhart explained. “It’s a two-day process for All Southern– one day is an eight-hour rehearsal, and the next day is a 6-hour rehearsal followed by a concert.”

Eberhart was recently accepted into the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association’s orchestra, commonly known as All Southern. Although he plays a variety of string instruments, including piano and viola, he auditioned on the violin. 

“I knew I wanted to commit to music since freshman year, but I really started focusing on violin [during] the tail end of my sophomore year,” Eberhart said. “The opportunities to perform for people in my community definitely inspire me to become better.”

Under highly selective audition processes, Malekzadeh was chosen as the only baritone saxophone player to participate in All Southern’s upper-level jazz band group. On top of that, he was selected as the only baritone saxophonist across California to join California’s All State jazz band.

As a former member of All Southern’s lower-level jazz band, Malekzadeh had met other saxophonists who shared his passion for music and inspired him to practice harder, increasing his chances at making the All Southern’s upper-level jazz band and eventually, All State.

“After I made All Southern in my junior year and met other musicians, my perspective on practice changed, and I realized I stopped practicing specifically for [auditions], and I started practicing just to make myself a better musician,” Malekzadeh said. 

“I had more motivation because of the other people there.” 

After placing in a high position within All State’s wind ensemble last year, bassoonist Park became eligible to audition for the National Association for Music Education’s concert band, often referred to as All Nationals. 

Park’s consistent practice, beginning in the sixth grade, has contributed to her audition success. 

“Both my brothers played double reed instruments… so I started playing bassoon. I tried the oboe first, but I didn’t really like it,” Park said. 

“I’d want to try to minor in music or even double major [in college].”

Being surrounded by such talented peers has positively influenced these four musicians. 

Yoon, who performed with CASMEC’s All State symphony orchestra for the first time in February of 2022, stated that “since everyone had the same background and mentality of musicians, it was like going into an extended family. The kids there definitely reminded me of how much harder I needed to work. Playing in such a high level ensemble was definitely humbling.”