From thousands of applicants across California, 33 Samohi band, choir, and orchestra students have been chosen to participate in the prestigious all-state honor choir and musical ensembles.

Santa Monica High School received the second most all-state selections out of any high school.

This honor highlights students’ independent and deep commitments to music as choir, band, orchestra members have been unable to practice together since March.

“It is an honor to be selected as one of the best high school musicians in the state. Being accepted gives me proof that the countless hours I have practiced and participated in music all of my life has been worth it,” said Alec Raymond, a 12th grade bass player selected for the symphony orchestra ensemble.

In lieu of the traditional trip to Fresno or Santa Fe, Students will participate in this year’s programming virtually and their musical recordings will be edited together to form impressive ensemble performances.

“I am super fortunate to be accepted to All-State this year and I feel proud to represent Samohi. During COVID things have been very unstable, but I am looking forward to enjoying some nice ‘musicking’ with friends near and far,” said Sebastian Heredia, a 10th grade viola player selected for the string orchestra ensemble.

District Music Coordinator Tom Whaley sees these impressive selections as not just a victory for Santa Monica High School, but a testament to the quality of music instruction across the District.

In 2005, Whaley began a movement to restructure the District’s music education by making it a mandatory part of the elementary school curriculum and introducing robust music programs taught by certificated music teachers at a K-12 level.

“What existed before was a pullout program in our District where kids were asked if they wanted to be in music program and all the rich kids raised their hand and the poor kids were like I can’t afford an instrument, so it was not equitable at all,” said Whaley.

According to Whaley, the high quality elementary and middle school music programs bring a “tidal wave” of talent to Samohi, which boasts seven orchestras, five concert bands, five choirs, and a marching band.

“Our band, jazz, choir, and orchestra programs at Samohi are playing only college literature. The upper groups are playing stuff that most colleges can’t even play and playing it better,” said Whaley. “At the national level they are ridiculously talented. That is a tribute to our teachers and our students and the hard work they do.”

The all-state selections reward students for their years of discipline and practice and give them an opportunity to connect with other exemplary musicians across the state. Students also have the chance to work with award winning conductors and further expand their musical mastery.

“Ever since I was in middle school, I have viewed All-State as nothing less than prestigious and inspiring,” said Sarah Moeller, a 9th grade bass player selected for the symphony orchestra ensemble. “All-State combines two of my favorite things about music: interacting with people that share the same passion as I do, and performing pieces that remind me why I love music.”