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Ellen HowellEllen Howell receives framed resolution from Lansing Councilwoman Andra Benson

Lansing High School senior Ellen Howell was recognized by the Lansing Town Board Wednesday for earning the high honor of being selected for this year's New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Conference All State Ensemble.  Howell was one of 6,500 sophomores and juniors who auditioned for the position.  Howell was also selected to the All Eastern Honors Ensemble, which selects students from eleven Northeastern states, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense School in Europe

Councilwoman Andra Benson read a resolution, and the Town Board unanimously approved it, that says, "...the Lansing Town Board recognizes Ellen Howell for her amazing musical achievements and presents this certificate signifying the Town’s pride in her accomplishment."

Each August NYSSMA notifies 900 students that they have qualified for the All State Ensemble.  Candidates are chosen based on a solo rating, recommendations by teachers and adjudicators, and the student's participation in her or his school's ensemble and other performing organizations.  The selection process begins with a solo performance being evaluated by an adjudicator in one of 15 regional zones across New York State.  Every student who earns 98 to 100 points is recommended.

The adjudicator lists the students by qualifying score, and in the case of ties by proficiency.  Late in June selection committees made of NYSSMA members from across the state meet to sort the proficiency lists for voice and instrumental candidates.  Once that list is complete other factors such as solo ratings, school grades, and other factors are weighed.  The result is a master proficiency list, which assigns candidates to one of eight All-State performing ensembles.  The final 900 are notified in August, and asked to return acceptance forms.  They are sent music for the ensemble performance, which they must prepare with great care.

Qualifying for the All State Ensemble is the highest honor a high school music student may receive within the state.  It qualified Howell to be selected for the All Eastern Honors Ensemble, which performed in April in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Congratulations," Benson told Howell. "You've done a fabulous job."

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