Alexa Shepardson’s First Year at NEMFA

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Alexa Shepardson’s First Year at NEMFA

Alexa Shepardson and NEMFA orchestra performing their final performance together.

Alexa Shepardson and NEMFA orchestra performing their final performance together.

Alexa Shepardson and NEMFA orchestra performing their final performance together.

Alexa Shepardson and NEMFA orchestra performing their final performance together.

Jillian Thibodeau

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Junior, Alexa Shepardson, was among the many high school students across New England that attended the New England Music Festival Association (NEMFA) on the weekend of March 21st to March 23rd. The music festival was held at Woodstock Academy in Woodstock, Connecticut and Shepardson participated in this festival for the very first time.

To start off, NEMFA is an audition-only music festival that accepts high school instrumentalists and vocalists across the whole New England area. For the three days of the festival, the talented students come together to rehearse and prepare for the concert that is on the final day of the festival. However, throughout the whole festival, all of the students stay with a host family, as there are students participating throughout New England and may live far away from Woodstock. This allowed students to meet new people and create more memories on the trip, at least this was the case for Shepardson. Shepardson mentioned that something she’ll never forget about NEMFA is, “When my host family took me and my roommate out to this coffee shop and we talked for hours about anything.” Generally, it seems like Shepardson had a great time at NEMFA with her host family, but she also enjoyed rehearsals, playing with the NEMFA orchestra, and meeting new people at rehearsals as well.

There are many things that Shepardson will never forget about her experience at NEMFA this year, like the conductor and how she made rehearsals “really fun and enjoyable.” Shepardson states that, “The conductor was really interactive… She had the whole orchestra sing our individual parts and we all laughed because of how bad we sounded.” Not only did the conductor make the rehearsals fun for Shepardson, but the people that she met and friends that she made, made her NEMFA experience so much better. Shepardson also got to know her section really well and she felt that the rehearsals were really laid back, saying that, “It was like you were playing good music with a bunch of your friends.” Overall, she really enjoyed her time at NEMFA and said that, “NEMFA was one of the best experiences that I’ve had and I met some great people through it. I plan on going back next year, because the talent in the group was unbelievable and I was honored to be playing with such individuals.”

All in all, Shepardson has worked extremely hard to get where she is and she prepared a lot to get into NEMFA. She practiced a lot with her private lesson teacher and she did her best to get the NEMFA pieces as perfect as they could get. After she learned that she got into NEMFA this year, she said that she was, “shocked because I didn’t realize that I actually improved that much. I was really excited but also nervous because I didn’t think that I did well in my audition.”

After all of her hard work for NEMFA and at the festival, she is overall really glad that she got to be apart of it and can’t wait for what next year will have in store for her. From Eastern Regionals auditions to NEMFA auditions, she is excited and nervous for auditions that will be held in the fall.