Senior Abigail Shaw First Student To Play In All-State Orchestra

Barron Shaw

Madi Kraemer, Reporter

For the first time in 50 years in our district, senior Abigail Shaw auditioned and won a place in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) All-State Orchestra Festival. 

Shaw said, “I’m really looking forward to representing Kennard-Dale at States because it’s been 50 years since a string instrument from KD made it, and I believe I’m the first violinist from KD to make it.”

To audition there was a three-part audition process with both virtual and in-person judging in order to make it to the PMEA All-State Orchestra Festival. 

“The audition process is a little complicated, but basically, you have to move your way up to states,” Shaw explained.

The first level was the PMEA District 7 Band & Orchestra Audition on December 4, at Eastern York High school. Shaw placed fourth out of the 70 violins that auditioned from eight different Counties: York, Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, & Perry. 

The top 40 violins (plus eight others for representation) moved on to the actual District Orchestra Festival.

Being one of the top 40 violinists, allowed her to go to the second level. 

Eastern York High School hosted the 2022 PMEA District 7 Orchestra Festival on January 14-15.  

Once she qualified for regionals, she had two days to learn and prepare three excerpts of music that were recorded and sent in to compete against all of the regional members of the state. 

Orchestra teacher Amy Best noted that one of the pieces Shaw had to prepare was one Best had performed for the York Orchestra.

At the District 7 Orchestra Festival, she had a re-audition. Shaw made 12 place in the top 24 violins that are able to move on to the 2022 PMEA Central Region Festival. 

That festival will happen on February 24-26, at Dallastown Area Intermediate School. 

Since she made the CRO Festival, that allowed her to submit a video audition for the PMEA All-State Orchestra. That will be held on April 6-9 at the Kalahari Resort & Conference Center in The Poconos. 

Tickets for the All-State Orchestra will be available soon.

Shaw will prepare for this festival by practicing daily and getting extra help from her multiple teachers. 

Shaw started playing violin the summer before third grade. By eighth grade, she was concertmaster of the York Junior Symphony Orchestra. She is also a member of the York Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Shaw studies violin privately with teacher Colette Wichert, as well as with district music teacher Amy Best for the past eight years. 

Shaw said, “Thanks to Mrs. Best and my private teacher, Mrs. Wichert, I felt really comfortable and prepared going into the audition process. Mrs. Best was the best cheerleader and supporter that I could have asked for throughout all of my auditions through the years in SESD.”

Although she has dealt with setbacks affecting her confidence, she feels as though she is the best she has ever been now.

Shaw said, “I feel surprised to have made it this far considering the difficulty, but I’m also so happy and grateful because I’ve worked really hard. 

“In my very first district audition, one of my strings broke and it ruined my confidence for years, so in a way I feel like I’ve finally been able to redeem myself and experience the opportunity I lost before. I practice daily and music is a passion of mine, so I can’t wait to go to the festival and share that passion with others.”

Shaw does not plan to pursue violin or music in college but said she will always be part of a chamber or orchestra group.

To view other videos of Shaw, please visit our Youtube page here. You will find a video of Shaw as a child practicing the violin. There are also two videos that show Shaw practicing her All-State Audition music–which she had only 48 hours to learn.