The purpose of the Symphony Hall Scholars is to provide support
to defray the All State Music Festival registration fee so as to
ensure that as many gifted and talented high school musicians as
possible can participate in this outstanding and prestigious event.
There is an old story about a young man new to New York City who
asked a passerby, ”How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The
man, after a brief pause, answered, “Practice, Practice. Practice.”
The same question is appropriate for those Massachusetts Music students
who aspire to perform in Boston’s Symphony Hall. The Massachusetts
Music Educators’ Association provides such an opportunity
each year for some five hundred (500) talented student musicians
from schools and communities from all corners of Massachusetts.
Thousands of hopeful musicians develop their musical skills and
make the commitment of time and practice to be able to compete for
the opportunity to perform in the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
These musicians include singers, band, orchestral, and jazz players
each vying for a place in the All State Concert.
Similar to honor students in the academic fields, these student
musicians represent excellence in achievement, and that is why they
have become known as the Symphony
Hall Scholars. These talented musicians selected
as Symphony Hall Scholars are
privileged to be coached, directed, and guided by outstanding professional
musicians. culminating in a public performance in Boston’s
They also the opportunity to meet other talented students from many
communities throughout the Commonwealth who come from urban, suburban,
rural areas, vastly different social and economic backgrounds, and
many ethnic origins. The students all have a common goal to make
DO THEY GET TO SYMPHONY HALL?
The First Step
Each year in late January, thousands of musicians attend a District
Festival. There are five districts – Central, Eastern, Northeastern,
Southeastern, and Western that host these festivals, which include
auditions, music workshops, and clinics. Every student who participates
receives valuable experiences, both in gaining musical skills and
understanding from the audition process, and also in sharing their
abilities with other students.
As the result of the auditions of more than four thousand (4,000)
students representing almost every community in Massachusetts, approximately
one thousand (1,000) student musicians are selected to audition
for participation in the All State Chorus, All State Concert Band,
All State Orchestra, and All State Jazz Band.
From this audition, only five hundred (500) are invited to participate
as Symphony Hall Scholars
in the All State Concert held at Boston's Symphony Hall.
The Final Step
These musicians assemble at the Massachusetts Music Educators' Association
annual conference, where they have three days of intensive rehearsals,
coaching, and other musical experiences. Students are privileged
to work with and learn from outstanding conductors who share their
musical expertise in the rehearsal and performance of challenging
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO PRESENT THE SYMPHONY HALL CONCERT?
The approval for participation as a Symphony Hall Scholar in All
State comes from the school, the school principal, and MMEA member
teacher who must verify that the student is a member in good standing
of a school music ensemble. The MMEA is endorsed by the Massachusetts
Secondary School Administrators’ Association, which assists
with encouraging schools to fully participate with this program.
When concert expenses rise, the student participation fee also increases.
This fee is subsidized partially, or in full, by some school districts.
However, in many cases, it comes directly from the parents and families.
Cuts in school budgets continue to place a greater burden upon the
parents of the student musicians to contribute either all, or part
of the fee. Without the substantial parental support of a child's
musical education, both in the school and through private lessons,
selection to participate would be greatly diminished.
WHAT ELSE IS NEEDED?
Since the actual cost for each student to participate continues
to escalate, fees need to be subsidized by MMEA, member contributions,
corporations, foundations, and individuals. Without this support,
student fees will have to be substantially increased.
Students of families with limited incomes are often excluded if
additional funding support is not provided. In fact, many students
may not even apply if they feel that they would not be able to meet
the financial requirements.
In the larger urban communities, there has been a distinct decline
in minority and low-income student populations in these events,
due to the lack of financial support available.
It is MMEA’s goal to encourage participation of all qualified
students, regardless of financial consideration.
YOU CAN HELP
The Massachusetts Music Educators’ Association is providing
an opportunity for you to ensure that all talented musicians from
across the Commonwealth have the chance to be a Symphony
Two thousand (2, 000) parents, teachers, and friends of the performers
attend the All State Concert, which for Symphony Hall is a full
house. Your sponsorship or contribution is crucial in making this
possible and will enable you to show your support to this large
Thank you for giving serious consideration to joining other sponsors
and contributors in making this outstanding event possible for these
deserving student musicians.