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Mt. Baker Students Selected for 2021 Washington Jr. All-State


Seven Mt. Baker Middle School band and orchestra students have been selected for the 2021 Washington Music Educators Association Jr. All-State after sending in audition tapes last October.Washington Music Educators Association logo

The students include both 7th and 8th graders who were chosen by the Washington Music Educators Association for extraordinary musical performance in their audition tapes.


The Mt. Baker students selected include orchestra students Brynn Casperson, Ryan Monsen, and Stephan Rivera and band students Naomi Cho, Anthony Goodman, Raphael Ometu, and Ella Wagner.

For the audition, students had to send in a video of themselves playing four, eight études to the Washington Music Educators Association, Mt. Baker Band Teacher Kavin Paustian said. An étude is a short, often difficult piece of music focused on a specific area of technique. Études are usually played to practice or demonstrate a skill.

Paustian said students practice the eight études in class, but also have to put in work outside of class to get better. “They’ve had to work pretty hard on it. I know one of my students takes private flute lessons but the rest of them don’t have private lessons,” he said.

In previous years, students selected for the honor were invited to celebrate at the Washington Music Educators Association Conference in Bellevue or Yakima. Prior to the conference, students invited were sent music to practice that would be played in a collective concert for parents and teachers, Orchestra Director at Mt. Baker Melinda Wharton said. 


“And of course this year is different because there isn’t actually a performance. And there’s no rehearsal. It’s literally just a- something cool. And they get a certificate and then they’re going to have some masterclasses with some big music teachers in April that they can attend, so that there’s something special that they get to do as for the honor that they’ve gotten,” Wharton said. 

This year qualifying students for the competition were notified through email by their teachers.

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Raphael Ometu, Brynn Casperson, Ryan Monsen, Stephan Rivera, Ella Wagner 


“Oh, they were so excited. Very very excited. Because they, you know, they know how competitive it is,” Wharton said.

“I got emails back with lots of exclamation points saying thank you, thank you, thank you,” Paustian said. 

“It’s a really big deal and it’s hard to get in. Usually, we have, you know, between one and three kids per school, so we’re really happy with the amount of kids that Mt. Baker has this year,” Wharton said.

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