University View Academy (UVA) sophomore Gerrit King Jr. recently became the second student in UVA’s history to be selected to perform in the prestigious Louisiana All-State Orchestra. The Louisiana Music Educators Association (LMEA) hosts the All-State Orchestra each fall. The orchestra includes approximately 100 students who have been selected by audition. King placed as fourth chair on cello.
The All-State Concert provides an opportunity for outstanding high school musicians from across Louisiana to perform under nationally recognized ensemble directors. After participants have been selected through the highly competitive audition process, they spend several days in rehearsal. The performances are held during the annual conference for the LMEA and include several ensembles such as orchestra, jazz, and choir.
A Baton Rouge resident, King enrolled at UVA in fifth grade and started learning cello shortly afterwards. He picked cello so he could learn his own instrument while also sharing a hobby with his older sister who plays violin. King is an active member of the Louisiana Youth Orchestra as well as UVA’s music program where he has been performing for over three years. When asked about performing in such notable public concerts, King shared his strategy. “Don’t stress out. Keep a calm head and use your time wisely. Don’t think about it too much; just let the music flow.”
UVA’s music program is led by Clarence Johnson. When he was in high school, Johnson also participated in All-State as a member of the jazz ensemble. He has been teaching music for over twenty years. “Music education is a vital part of forming the overall persona of a student, particularly in the online setting,” Johnson said. “We can go beyond the conventional setting of a band room into all corners of the state, especially rural areas. It’s a very patient and accessible program.”