Meaghan Austin should be playing her clarinet solo today at a community concert to showcase her musical skills. Last February, she auditioned and won the Lovezolla 2020 Scholarship Award.
She won’t play for a live audience.
The Puyallup Valley Community Band stopped rehearsals for that concert on March 10–the same day a Skagit Valley choir made a different choice and rehearsed. Later that choir would learn that they had unknowingly spread the novel coronavirus to each other.
Because Austin cannot peform in the concert, we have chosen to record an interview with her and posted a video of her playing Canzonetta by Pierné at the Washington Music Educators Association Solo and Ensemble Contest.
Meaghan began playing in the fourth grade and chose the clarinet, she says, because her big sister Melissa played that instrument. A student of Rogers High School, Austin is graduating and deciding whether to attend Central Washington University or the University of Idaho to major in music. Like so many other high school seniors, she is now finishing her studies from home and won’t be able to attend the ceremony planned for June 13th at the Washington State Fairgrounds.
When asked the most challenging part of playing in an ensemble like the community band, she says making music is “working together with other people without actually having to speak.”
She credits her band director Stephen Pickard and her clarinet teacher Stan Purvis for much of her success. “Without him,” she says of Purvis, “I don’t know where I’d be, honestly.”
When not completing her schoolwork online, she works at Julian Estates Retirement Living.
Austin may not be able to graduate in a ceremony at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, but that is definitely not stopping this 18-year-old from making music and serving her community.