Two Burlingame musicians head to All-State


Farah Caban

Left: Junior, oboist, and All-State band musician Audrey Limb practices in class on Jan. 24. Right: Senior, trumpeter, and All-State lead trumpet Johnny Willy rehearses in class on Jan. 25.

Farah Caban, Business Manager

California’s All-State Band selected two Burlingame students, junior Audrey Limb and senior Johnny Willey, for the second year in a row to play in their highly-selective band. 


Each August, the California All-State Band releases musical pieces for middle and high school students across the state to practice and record. Students who choose to apply for the elite band have their music teachers send their audio recordings to the judges, who blindly select only the best — no names, grades, genders or races are considered. 


High school students across the state audition for a spot in one of seven bands: Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Jazz Band or Jazz Choir. Once selected, accepted students receive an invitation to play at the All-State concert in Fresno, Calif. over President’s Day weekend. This acceptance and invitation letter also includes sheet music for students to practice from the time of the acceptance in early January to the time of the performance.


Willey, who is a lead trumpet player in the All-State Jazz Band, tries to practice for an hour to an hour-and-a-half every weeknight either for the school band, homework from his private teacher or All-State.

“So like right now, All-State is such a priority and I have such little time to practice, so that’s going to be taking up most of my practice time,” Willey said.


After practicing on their own, musicians get to practice with their band before the performance. At the actual convention, there is time for bands to rehearse as a whole and then perform in front of parents, music teachers, other students and music enthusiasts. According to Limb, All-State is considered an enormous achievement as a young musician, so people from all over California attend. 


Oboe player Limb was selected to play in the Wind Symphony — the highest wind ensemble — for her second year as a part of All-State. Limb applied for the program all throughout middle school and All-State accepted her during her sophomore year. As ecstatic as she was to have been accepted for the first time, she did not know if it would happen again.


“Whether you got in before or not has no impact. They have no idea who you are. Even though I got in last year, I wasn’t sure that I would this year,” Limb said.


But, against all odds, she received her second acceptance and was just as excited as the previous year. 


“It is kind of a sign that all these hours that you spend practicing and working is recognized and appreciated,” Limb said.