Tag Archives: My Life

Solo Ensemble

Last Saturday (February 6th, 2016) was Solo Ensemble for everyone who is taking orchestra this year. Solo Ensemble is where you pick a solo piece to play for a judge, and you get ranked. You can either get a “superior” — which is the best, an “excellent” — which is second best, a “good” — which is not very good, or a “needs improvement” — which you absolutely don’t want to get.

My time was supposed to be at 10:30 a.m. However, I arrived early and there happened to be a judge that was open, so I went to go play for him instead.

As I walked into the room where I was going to play in, I knew I was doomed. My legs instantly started shaking uncontrollably. I clenched and unclenched my hands, hoping to still them. It didn’t work. My brain blanked out, and my fingers forgot to to play the violin. “Whenever you’re ready,” the judge calmly said. I brought my violin up to my neck and prepared myself to play.

1…

2…

3…

I started playing.

Anaphylaxis

I knew something was wrong the moment I stepped out of the cafeteria.

My throat had become incredibly itchy. “It’s nothing,” I told myself. Later did I know that it was the beginning of anaphylaxis: which is a life or death situation.

I powered my legs forward toward my next class –– 6th grade science with Ms. Stary.  As the teacher was lecturing us, I couldn’t stop coughing. Everyone was staring at me. My face turned redder than the the core of the sun. “What is wrong with me?” I managed to mutter before I was overcome by coughing again.

I soon couldn’t stand my coughing anymore, so I asked the teacher to let me go get some water. She sent me to the nurse instead, and to this day I am still thankful that she did.

From the 2 minutes it took to walk from the science room to the nurse, I realized that I was becoming overwhelmingly itchy everywhere. I looked at myself and realized that everywhere along my body was covered in what looked like mosquito bites –– of course it was actually hives.

During the 30 seconds that I had to wait in the nurse’s office, I realized I was having technical difficulties breathing. I must have looked like a fish out of water –– standing there gasping for air. I clawed at my throat, trying to open it up to let some air through.

After what felt like forever, it was finally my turn for the nurse to check on me. From the lost of air, the rest of the things that happened were a haze. However, I remember that first the nurse gave me some benadryl. I can still feel the medicine slowly drip down my throat. She then guided me towards the mini bed that was in her office. Then she gave me the epipen. It felt like waterfalls of sweat were falling from my hands when I saw that that big orange medical pen had to be injected into my leg. Clenching my fist together, I readied myself for the pain. The nurse injected the epipen in a blink of an eye. Maybe it was because I was already so uncomfortable –– or maybe it was because the nurse just inserted the epipen expertly –– but either way, it didn’t hurt at all. Slowly, I released the big breath I was holding. The nurse then called 911 and my parents.

As we waited for the ambulance to come, the nurse put an oxygen mask on me. I instantly felt more air fill my lungs. I could taste and feel the oxygen slowly seeping into my mouth and nose.

The firemen came first, then the police, and finally the ambulance and paramedics. As I looked at all the people who were there helping me, I knew that I would be ok. I was quickly shipped off on the ambulance to the hospital. To this day, anaphylaxis will always be a challenge of mine.

Finding Out the Results of Region

Region had finished, and I had gone home. All I could think about was if I made region or not. I was trying to pass time, so I went to go check my mail.

“Hey I have mail,” I said to myself. I looked at the list of unread mails, and my eyes instantly fell on a forwarded message from my friend.The message consisted of no words. There was only a document attached to it.

“What could this be?” I wondered.

Curious, I clicked on the document. I gasped when I realized that the document was the region results. I quickly squeezed my eyes shut, not ready to see the results yet. After a little bit, I finally slowly opened my eyes and scrolled straight to the bottom of the list of people who had made region. I had scrolled to the bottom because I didn’t think I did very well, so I was either close to the bottom or I didn’t make it at all. As I started looking at the list I realized that I wasn’t anywhere near the bottom.

“Annie,” I muttered to myself, “did you really do so bad that you didn’t even make it?”

Thinking that I had not made it, I was instantly saddened. But I kept looking through the list to see what everyone else had gotten. I wasn’t really expecting to find my name anymore, so when I glimpsed upon someone with the last name of Huang, my first thought was, “Hey I just got another sibling.” I then closing looked at the name and realized that the first name was Annie.

“Wait what…” I thought to myself, very confused. The name was listed in the top orchestra section, and I didn’t think that I’ll make it.

So even though it’s very unlikely to find someone with the exact same name as you at region, I thought that there might actually be another person called Annie Huang. But then I closely looked at the school and grade, and found that it said WRMS 7th grade. Only then did I know that it was indeed me who had made it to the top orchestra.

“I made it!!!” I screamed with joy. “I made it into the top Orchestra!!!”

During Region

“Two more people,” I muttered to myself. I was slouched on a chair, with people surrounding me. During region, everyone takes turns to play for the judges. So the wait for your turn is very long. During the wait, you can’t even talk to anyone or make any noise, and it is also incredibly nerve-racking.

“One more person,” I reminded myself. I anxiously wiped my hand against my pants to get rid of the sweat that has been accumulating.

“CV to the ready chair,” the room manager called out. They call us by letters because the judges can’t know who we are. The judges also can’t see us because they are behind a curtain. Therefore, the whole region operation is very anonymous. I nervously walked over to the ready chair. The ready chair is where you wait for the person before you to finish playing.

“CV to the playing stand,” spoke the room manager. I slowly made myself stand up and move towards the playing stand. I popped my knuckles and stretched my hands out one last time.

“CV is now playing,” the room manger called. As I stood there, I could feel my legs uncontrollably shaking. I must have shaken as much as an earthquake. I slowly breathed in a big breath and moved my violin onto my shoulder. I lifted up my bow hand and rested it on the strings of the violin. I made myself focus all of my thoughts onto the music that I was about to play. “This is it Annie,” I thought to myself. “This is where all your practice pays off. This is all or nothing.”

I took another big breath and began.

Morning of Region Day

I closed my eyes and took a big breath, trying to calm myself. Today was region day.

Region is where everyone in your region comes to play for some judges and the judges rank you. If you make it in, there is a clinic/performance that you get to attend. There you get to play with all the other people that made it in. There are 2 orchestras that you can make it into. One is Symphony (also known as full orchestra, in which you get to play with the band people that made it) and the other one is String. Symphony is better than String.

I walked into the already packed WRMS cafeteria, which was acting as the warm up room. I instantly looked around for my friends and spotted them already waiting in the never ending sign in line. I made my way toward them and attempted to patiently wait in the line.  After what seemed like forever, my friends and I finally successfully signed in. We all went over to where we had put our instruments and started to warm up.

As I was warming up, I desperately tried to still my shaking hands. “Calm down Annie,” I muttered to myself. My blood was thrumming with nervousness and excitement. After I warmed up for a little, I walked around and listened to other people play. It was probably not the best choice because most of the people were really good. So I instantly felt discouraged and didn’t think I was going to make it in.

Around 9:00 A.M. they started calling people into their assigned rooms. The violins were split into 3 rooms, so each room had a lot of people. I felt a wave of terror wash over me as I realized that the best violinist was in the same room as me. I forced myself to keep walking and stumbled along into the room.