Senior Isaac Cheston One of 20 All State Clarinet Players

by Eikaiva Boyer

Senior Isaac Cheston has loved the clarinet since he could hold an object with his hands. He practices at least an hour a day, if not more, starting in early middle school. For the accomplishment of now being a member of the all state band, Cheston practiced for three hours a night, resulting in more than 50 hours for the entire practice time. “I felt incredible knowing I made family and friends proud,” he commented.

Cheston made the senior-high all state band. This is an honor band for the best musicians from grade ten to twelve in the state. Cheston was one of three musicians in Frederick County to get in. “Making all state has been a goal of mine since middle school. My parents both made all state band and orchestra several times when they were in middle and high school, and it’s something I felt would commend my hard work and musicianship,” he said.

This is no easy competition either, Cheston had to memorize eight major scales, the chromatic scale, and prepare a lyrical and technical etude. “The audition process consisted of a preliminary room and finals room. There are about 140 clarinetists who auditioned and close to 40 who make the finals room. This year, there were 20 clarinets taken,” Cheston said.

Cheston’s inspiration started from his father. “My dad was the person who first taught me clarinet. He’s helped me prepare for every audition, solo, and ensemble piece I’ve ever played. He’s given me the advice and all the knowledge he has so I can better my skills and musicianship.”

Cheston no doubt walks in his talented and accomplished footsteps, “He’s one of the best musicians and best trumpet player that I’ve heard. He plays with tremendous emotion that can make people joyful and tear up. He’s a well known and respected elementary band teacher in the county, and has actually taught one of the other persons who made all state in this county when they were in elementary school,” he commented.

This emotional connection they share through music made the moment he told his father he was an official member of the senior-high all state band, even more great. “I was ecstatic when I found out! Personally, this validated all the effort that I put into this audition, and all the time spent learning my instrument since sixth grade. Through his teaching and playing, he inspires me and many to become better musicians and become more interested in music.”

Though humble, Cheston is the best of the best in the state of Maryland, and he’s only a senior. Cheston takes a moment to thank anyone that has ever helped him in his footsteps, “I want to thank all my family, friends, and clarinet professors who have given me support and help for this accomplishment.”

What’s next for Cheston? More music of course! “Everyone who got selected for the band will come together for a weekend of rehearsal, and play in a concert in March. I will be ecstatic to play with superior musicians who have put in the same, if not more work to be in this band.”

Cheston should be incredibly proud of his achievement, and many more to come. “I can’t wait to play more music,” he added.