On Nov. 23, Linus Munn and 15 fellow members of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) music department headed to Wrentham to audition for the South-East Music Festival, known as South-East. Linus returned as the first freshman in more than three decades to be recommended for the All-State Festival audition.
South-East is a two-day experience during which students attend two days of eight-hour practices, with a public concert at Somerset Berkley Regional High School during the final day. At the audition, choir and orchestra students have the opportunity to perform in front of a panel of judges, who then decide if they will be able to participate. With acceptance comes the possibility for a recommendation to audition for the All-State Festival.
The All-State Festival is an event hosted by the Massachusetts Music Educators Foundation, where 500 of Massachusetts’ top instrumentalists and vocalists gather to participate in intensive rehearsals, culminating in a concert at Symphony Hall in Boston. Three MVRHS students were invited this year: senior Spencer Pogue and freshman Linus Munn for viola, and senior Skylar Hall for vocals.
Linus has been playing the viola for seven years. He practices daily, and attends a weeklong Suzuki camp in Canada every August where he hones his skills with all-day classes. This hard work has carried over into Linus’ success at auditions.
“I was surprised and thrilled that I received the recommendation,” he said. “My viola is really meaningful to me, because it was personalized so that I can shift and play songs that I wasn’t able to before. The specialized shape of the viola has significantly helped me further my music, and given me an appreciation for the immense possibilities that instruments hold for musicians.”
Linus’ father, MVRHS physics teacher Dana Munn, said, “We’re excited, honored, and so happy for him, because he’s worked tremendously hard over the years, and he’s very committed to the instrument.”
In his almost 30 years of teaching, orchestra teacher Mike Tinus has never had a freshman invited to audition for this selective event. When asked why it was beneficial for students to audition for events such as South-East, Mr. Tinus said, “I think it’s important for student musicians to have the opportunity to rehearse and perform with other students their age, under a conductor they aren’t familiar with. This is an opportunity a regular high school music program simply cannot offer.”