Todd makes All-State Orchestra
A tuba player at Washington High School (WHS) has been selected for the All-State Orchestra.
Nicholas Todd, senior at WHS and son of Mike and Teresa Todd, found out on Saturday, Oct. 19, after his audition in Fairfield.
“Everybody auditions, and after that you wait,” Todd said. “Then they [the All- State judges] come out with who made it.”
There were 14 tubas from the Southeast Iowa District who auditioned, said WHS band director Don Hughes.
“Nick was the only one from Southeast district accepted,” Hughes said.
For Todd, being selected for the All-State orchestra is a humbling experience.
“I knew I had a chance but wasn’t sure if I was going to be selected or not,” he said. “I’m still amazed. I still can’t grasp my mind around it.”
His audition was a little nerve-racking for him because of the wait.
“By the time I got to play, I just wanted it to be over with,” Todd said.
He was the last person to audition before the judges in Fairfield.
“We left here at what—8 in the morning?” he asked Hughes.
“More like 8:30 and your audition was supposed to be at 1:45 but by the time you got in there it was 2 p.m.,” Hughes said.
At the audition Todd played a minute from his solo piece “Airgia.” Then he had to play from two pieces selected by the judges and played one major scale of his choice, one Germanic scale, and etudes (another series of scales), Hughes said.
One thing that helped Todd with his audition was the familiarity with the auditioning process, Hughes said. Last spring Todd was selected for the Southeast Iowa Bandmasters Association (SEIBA) Honor Band, which uses the same auditioning process. Todd used the same scales for his SEIBA audition.
He also chose the same solo piece he used at a competition last year.
“The solo I used last year for the state solo-ensemble contest and got a 1 rating,” Todd said, smiling, “one point shy of a perfect ballad.”
He began practicing for the All-State audition two weeks before school started in August and started taking private lessons with a local private tuba teacher. When asked how long he had been practicing, he said, “too dang long,” smiling.
“I knew it was a good sign when everybody walking through the band room could sing his a-tunes because we’ve heard it so much,” Hughes said.
Todd’s love for the tuba began in eighth grade. He originally began playing the trumpet in fifth grade. In eighth grade his middle school director, Craig McClenahan, introduced him to the tuba.
Once he started playing tuba he never looked back.
“You play really, really low notes,” he said. “It’s just fun to play.”
The only thing he doesn’t like about the tuba is carrying it, Todd said.
He plays in four different ensembles at the high school, bass guitar in the orchestral pit for musicals, the Municipal Concert Band during the summer, and the sousaphone for marching band.
He will leave Thursday, Nov. 21, for the All-State festival in Ames. Chair placement auditions will be that day, and the concert will be on Saturday, Nov. 23. He said he is looking forward to meeting other musicians his age from across the state who have the love of music and are well-prepared for festival.
Todd is already planning for college next fall. He hopes to attend the University of Northern Iowa and would like to major in music.
He has some advice for younger kids thinking about joining band.
“Do it,” Todd said. “Don’t drop out, and stick it out through high school. High school is where it’s fun.”