Worthy of the honor

MARSHALL – In a couple of weeks, Michael Gutman and Annabelle Lecy will be joining the best orchestra students from around the state.

Gutman and Lecy were selected to be part of the Minnesota Middle Level Honors Orchestra. Gutman plays the violin and Lecy plays the cello.

Lecy, a seventh-grader at Marshall Middle School, was designated as the principal cellist for the honors orchestra, and her competition for the highest seat comes from much larger school districts across the state.

Both Gutman and Lecy are members of the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra. Lecy said she chose the cello back when she was in the second grade after seeing a cello quartet perform in Marshall. Gutman, a freshman at Marshall High School, started playing in the fourth grade.

Lecy’s older sister, Nicolette, was chosen to be in the honors orchestra last year, so that spurred her to audition.

“I saw that last year my sister had a lot of fun,” Lecy said.

Gutman had tried out for the orchestra last year and was an alternate.

“It was Mrs. (Diane) Wright who actually encouraged me,” he said. “I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to do it.”

Even though he didn’t make it, Gutman knew he had another chance this year.

“I kind of felt bad, but I knew I had one more year,” he said. “I thought it was an honor to be at that level in orchestra.”

To audition for the honors orchestra, students have to perform a required piece and a choice piece. The piece Lecy chose for her audition was “Rondo, Concerto No. 4, Opus 65,” by George Golterman. Her required piece was “La Cinquantaine” by Jean Gabriel-Marie. Guman selected “Praeludium and Allegro” by Fritz Kreisler and his required number was the third movement of “Concerto in E minor” by Antonio Vivaldi.

Lecy said she recorded her pieces and would send them via email to Wright.

“If there was anything I needed to fix, she would tell me, and I recorded it again to make it better,” Lecy said. She said she recorded her pieces numerous times before she was ready to submit them.

Guman said he really worked hard to have another shot at getting into the honors orchestra and felt he’s improved during the year. He said he spent seven hours recording his audition pieces until he felt they were perfect.

“I probably had about 100 recordings of each piece total,” Gutman said. He also sent his recordings to Wright and got her feedback to see if he needed any improvements.

Gutman has taken private violin lessons from Sallianne Larson for more than five years. She said Gutman is an awesome student.

“He’s very disciplined,” Larson said.

Wright has been Lecy’s cello instructor since the beginning.

“She’s been one of those exceptional students…she’s been a pleasure to work with,”?Wright said about Lecy. “She just learns so quickly.”?Wright said Lecy is easy to work with – gracious, appreciative, humble and a hard worker.

When they learned they made it into the honors orchestra, Lecy and Gutman were thrilled.

“I was pretty happy,” Lecy said.

I was definitely excited, I felt honored to be a part of this,” Gutman said.

The two will go to the Twin Cities on Friday, Feb. 15 for an all-day rehearsal with the orchestra, and then the honors orchestra will perform a concert the following day at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

“It will definitely be a musical experience to be with these talented musicians,” Gutman said.

Wright said that both Gutman and Lecy are “incredible students and very worthy of the honor they’re receiving.”