by Nathan Warner, Contributing editor
“I’d have to say Danny Elfman, the composer, and Burt Hara of the Minnesota Orchestra are the musical inspirations that have inspired me to succeed,” Katie Tatro says about her winning audition that means she’ll be playing the clarinet for the Minnesota All-State Orchestra.
The Zimmerman junior credits her ZHS music teacher Tim Smith and her clarinet teacher Nina Olson of MacPhail Center in Minneapolis with guiding her goals and helping her to focus, saying, “Without Nina Olson’s guidance, I’d be stuck on a musical plateau.”
Tatro says it took a lot of practice and some natural skill to achieve this goal. “I felt ecstatic when I heard that I had won,” she laughed. “My first thought was ‘you made it again!’”
This is not the first time Katie has won a coveted position in auditions — last year she was selected as the first chair in the All-State Band.
The Minnesota All-State Orchestra auditions were held across the state, with 700 students vying for the honor to play in the orchestra. Out of that number, Katie is one of 30 clarinet players selected. Her audition was held at Anoka High School along with dozens of other hopefuls.
Katie’s audition before the judges involved playing a prepared étude, playing the scales, and sight-reading. “Sight-reading is where they put a new piece of music in front of you that you’ve never seen before and give you 30 seconds to look it over before having to play it.” She explains.
Growing up, Katie’s older sister played the flute and the clarinet and Katie tried both instruments before settling on the clarinet. She enjoys playing the clarinet and wants to be as good as she can get. College is looming on the horizon for the 17-year-old and she knows she wants to study music, but isn’t sure where yet. Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the University of Minnesota are two possibilities. “I’ll study music theory first, but I don’t know yet if I want to teach music or go into performing,” she says.
Tatro will train at the Minnesota All-State Orchestra camp at the College of St. Benedict for a week in August before performing in concert at the end of August and in February at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for the MMEA Music Educators convention.
“I’m really excited,” she says, “and I’m thankful to everyone for supporting and encouraging me to accomplish this dream.”
“Katie is an extraordinary musician,” said Tim Smith, ZHS band director. ”When she asked me to listen to her most recent recital piece my jaw had dropped, I had to honestly tell her there was nothing I could say regarding her clarinet abilities — they went beyond me.”
Tatro — who also plays oboe, flute saxophone, base clarinet and piano — was the only musician picked for all-state from the three District 728 schools.