Memorial’s Musicians: Athena Vasilopoulos: by Eve Brown-Ryder

(2-13-21): There are two music festivals that happen every year in New Hampshire called Classical All-State and Jazz All-State. Students from around the state have the opportunity to audition for one or both of the All-States using an instrument or their voice. This year, five of the Memorial students who auditioned were able to earn a spot in one of these music festivals. One of these talented people is junior Athena Vasilopoulos, who got accepted into Classical All-State on viola.

This was Vasilopoulos’ second time auditioning and this experience could not have been more different than her first. Traditionally, the Classical All-State audition is held at Memorial High School. Musicians from all over the state come to the school to audition live and in-person for two separate adjudicators. This year, though, it was completely virtual. “We had to submit a separate video recording for each aspect of the audition,” Vasilopoulos explained. “The audition wasn’t too bad, [and] the fact that we only had to play excerpts of the piece helped a lot… It was a bit nerve-wracking leading up to [the audition], but I just tried to power through it so I could get the most stressful part over with.”

The festival is happening in April and Vasilopoulos is “looking forward to the whole experience honestly. This is my first time getting in so I’m pretty excited to see what it’s like!” Although Vasilopoulos has never been to one of these festivals before, she knew that in a typical year “you stay in a hotel for three or so days and get to spend each day practicing, doing workshops, etc. However, this year the festival is going to be completely… via Zoom, and I suppose I’m just going to have to wait to see what it will be like.”

Even though the All-State experience will be different this year, it is still a great honor. Congratulations, Athena!

UPDATE (5-12-21): Since the initial interview for this article, both Classical and Jazz All-State have occurred, and Vasilopoulos shared her experience with the virtual music festival.

Despite the online nature of the event, “the experience was still worthwhile… Not only did we have the opportunity to meet with the conductor of our piece, Maria Newman, but we were also graced with the advice and teachings [of] other professional musicians… We were given plenty of breaks to be able to take some time away from the screen, but overall the festival was an enlightening experience in which I got to learn a bit more about music!”

Once again, congratulations to Athena and the four other Memorial students who got to attend the first, and possibly only, virtual All-State festival!

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