Hannah Stoutner, an 8th grader flute player at Whitehall Middle School, participated in the annual Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA) State Middle Honors Music Project on October 29th, 2016. The WSMA State Honors Project began in 1967 to offer musically talented students an opportunity to rehearse and perform with the country’s finest conductors in a professional, disciplined setting. Students in sixth through eighth grade are eligible to audition for the WSMA State Honors Music Project. Hannah started her journey back in the Spring of 2016, when she auditioned in Eau Claire. “I was really nervous when I auditioned, especially seeing all the people who I was auditioning with,” Hannah described her experience when she went to audition. Hannah was notified in July that she had become a participant of the WSMA State Honors Project. A total of eighty-four flute players auditioned, and Hannah was one out of the sixteen flute players who were invited to Waunakee, Wisconsin for the rehearsal. Hannah practiced all summer her pieces of music to prepare for the day of the rehearsal.

Hannah arrived at Waunakee, WI on October 28th, a day before the rehearsal to practice along with the other participants. Hannah was nervous and excited about her rehearsal but she also made new connections, “Making new friends with my section was really cool especially because they were from all over the state. I’m still in touch with some of them.” On the day of the rehearsal, Hannah performed 4-scales and also had to sight-read a short piece of music. Hannah was wowed by the WSMA State Honors Music Project. She was so inspired by the program, that she’s going to keep auditioning throughout the rest of her school years. Hannah worked hard all year to reach her goal of going to the WSMA State Honors Music Project rehearsal. Hannah’s advice for future participants: “If you’re going to do this, you have to have lots of dedication towards music because it’s a good challenge. After all, it’s such a great experience and you get to make new friends.”