ERHS’s Willoughby, Piasecki selected for all-state band camp

Melia Willoughby played background music at Arts in Harmonyat the government center. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Elk River juniors Jordon Plachecki, on bassoon, and Melia Willoughby, on harp, have been selected for the Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Band Camp.

“This is one of the highest honors to be selected for,” said John Rosner, band director at ERHS. “There were 1,977 students auditioning. The audtion is quite rigorous and difficult to put together.  Just auditioning says a lot about the students.”

Jordan Piasecki plays several wind instruments and excels at the bassoon. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

He added, “Both students are wonderful kids to have in class, which makes it all the more enjoyable.”

Piasecki was one of 10 chosen from 30 auditioning on bassoon. He’s in wind symphony and sax quartet and plays several wind instruments.

“Jordon is committed to playing things very accurately,” said Rosner. “He’s a technician, really, on the instruments he plays.”

Piasecki acknowledged that the auditioning process “requires a lot of practice” and included hastily learning sheets of music you’ve never seen.

Willoughby is often enjoyed by the public as she provides background music at art shows. She also plays piano and oboe.

“Melia has a wonderful family that encourages music first of all,” said Rosner. “She works hard at what she loves and is dedicated to it.”

She has played for six years, with lessons from Emily Gerard.

“I absolutely love playing harp,” Willoughby said. “I usually prefer to play music that is quick and emotional, which makes it therapeutic in a way, and more comparable to sprinting than relaxing.”

Willoughby plans to spend her senior year at an arts high school.

The All-State camps for bands will be held at Minnesota-Duluth in August and February for a week each.