Casey Nalley details the popular GSA program.
It is finally March, which means that various Beechwood sophomores and juniors are scurrying around filled with intense worry. Why? It is time for Governor School for the Arts’ auditions. The Kentucky Governor School for the Arts is an annual three-week summer program open to high school sophomores and juniors. The program offers instruction for various art forms including instrumental music, vocal music, musical theatre, creative writing, architecture, visual art, dance, drama, and new media. Students must first send in an application to receive an audition/interview time. The auditions decide whether students are accepted into the program. Being accepted into the program not only helps students work on their art, but it can also bring in a variety of scholarships. Many Kentucky state colleges and universities give partial scholarships or full-rides to attendees of the Governor School of the Arts.
Beechwood’s most common art form is instrumental music. Junior Elizabeth Gieske auditioned two weeks ago as a percussionist. GSA requires all percussionists to play two instruments. Elizabeth decided to audition with the instrument she knows best, timpani, and what percussion judges generally want to see, marimba. Anyone who knows Elizabeth is most likely aware of her beyond exemplary timpani skills – including herself. Her usual audition persona is so blasé that it was fairly surprising when the day before her GSA audition she said, “I’m kind of freaking out right now.” However, after the fact, Elizabeth’s feelings changed, “It wasn’t all that bad. Actually, the audition was a lot of fun. I do wish that I had prepared some parts a bit more, but the judges were really nice and easy to talk to. My worries quickly went away.” The same could be said for sophomore Ashley Nalley who auditioned on guitar. Ashley has been playing guitar for nearly eight years, and is usually very calm when it comes to auditions; nevertheless, she spent the entire week prior to her audition in a bit of a frazzled state, practicing as much as possible. “I was scared beforehand, but it ended up not being that bad. The judges do what they can to make you comfortable.” So, despite the hype, auditions are not something to be overwhelmed about.
Students each have their own personal reason for wanting to be accepted into the program. Beechwood Junior Victoria Agosto-Gonzalez gave her reason, “I am planning on going into music education, and I think GSA would help me build my music skills.” Ashley Nalley gave a somewhat less serious reason, “(laughs) because art camp for three weeks sounds like a party.” Whatever each student’s reason, it is a fairly popular program, with thousands of students auditioning each year.
The audition process and the summer program are completely free. Auditioning for Governor School for the Arts could benefit any student in the fine arts. Even if a student is not admitted, they can still say they had the experience of a professional interview/ audition which could help with any similar situations in the future. And, of course, there is always the possibility of being accepted.