Liam Flynn and Zen Lavin were among 9,000 students across the state who auditioned at NYSSMA solo festivals held in the spring. Of these 9,000, only 900 students are selected for the All-State Conference, scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 2 in Rochester. Flynn and Lavin will perform with the Mixed Choir, one of the many ensembles for instrumentalists and vocalists at the All-State Conference.
The spring auditions required Flynn and Lavin to prepare a piece of music to perform for a judge, and to sight-read a simple piece of music that was provided during the audition. To be recommended for All-State Conference, a student must perform a Level 6 solo (the most difficult level) and get a perfect, or near-perfect score. Both Flynn and Lavin received perfect scores — Flynn as a Tenor 2 and Lavin as a Tenor 1.
Oneonta High School choir director Megan Dyer described both students as outstanding musicians and leaders. According to Ms. Dyer, Flynn is a state champion runner, and plays guitar; Lavin has performed in Orpheus Theatre drama productions.
“It’s unusual for a smaller school such as Oneonta to have two students selected,” Ms. Dyer noted, adding that while Oneonta singers and instrumentalists have been chosen in the past, this is the first time she’s aware of more than one in the same year. “This experience is life-changing for students. I was beyond happy when I heard about it.”
Ms. Dyer credits the success of the OHS music program to the talented students and outstanding support from the faculty, staff and administration of the district. She noted that, while many of the students who are chosen for All-State take private voice lessons outside of school, Flynn and Lavin were well prepared for the competition through the school’s own program.
Liam Flynn said he felt confident going into this year’s competition — his third NYSSMA audition. “I put a lot of preparation into it, so I was hyped when I found out that I made it,” Flynn said.
Zen Lavin agreed, saying, “This was the year that I felt like I did really well.”
Both students said they are looking forward to the experience of singing with the All-State Mixed Chorus this fall, and both encouraged other young musicians to audition for NYSSMA.
“I know there’s people in that room who could do it,” Lavin said, gesturing toward the choir room where his classmates were singing.
“It’s a little extra work,” Flynn said, “but in the end, it’s worth it.”