Only the most talented
musicians in Wyoming make it to the All-
State Honor Band, Choir and Orchestra.
Finding the hours of practice to hone this
talent can be a challenge especially for today’s
“The music comes out about two months
before the auditions,” said junior Zoe Griffin,
a French horn player who made it to the
All-State band for the third year in a row.
“And you practice every single day until the
auditions, at least for me. I show livestock,
so it was a big commitment trying to deal
with animals and my practicing.”
Griffin is also taking two Advanced
Placement classes, is president of the FFA
chapter and played in the orchestra for the
Pinedale Fine Arts Council’s production of
“Beauty and the Beast.”
Junior Michael Vitanza, a violin player,
landed a spot in the All-State orchestra for
the second time this year.
“I try to do as much as I can – to get in
about an hour of practice a day,” he said.
“On weekends, I usually do a couple, three
hours of practice.”
Vitanza is on the alpine ski team, and
practice started in November. Since the
sport takes up a lot of time, he plans to cram
in practice time for the upcoming All-State
performance over winter break.
Timothy Hosler, a sophomore, trumpet
player and first-timer to All-State, is involved
in golf, basketball and also played in
the “Beauty and the Beast” orchestra.
“Golf got over before I got the All-State
music, so that didn’t really interfere with
practice,” he said. “But it was still kind
of hard to find time with ‘Beauty and the
As a football player, wrestler and the
male lead for the upcoming spring play, senior
Anthony Rigo also has to carve time
out for music. Rigo plays the tuba and the
trombone in jazz band and this is his first
Robert Galbreath photo
Six Pinedale High School students made it to the All-State Choir, Orchestra and
Band this year. Pictured in front row, from left, are Zoe Griffin (band), Sabrina
Donaldson (choir) and Landon Preece (choir). Standing in back, from left, are
Timothy Hosler (band), Anthony Rigo (band) and Michael Vitanza (orchestra).
year at All-State.
“Wrestling is a big time commitment,”
he said. “Whenever I’m not at wrestling
practice, or reading lines, I have to squeeze
in music practice.”
The All-State auditions are intimidating.
“My audition was definitely a little bit
nerve-wracking because it was my senior
year, my last chance to get into this ensemble,”
“I missed All-State by one point last
year,” said Hosler. “So it was also very
nerve-wracking for me.”
Choir hopefuls have to sing a capella and
the judges chose some tricky passages.
“They like to do things with funky intervals
and weird timing, so that when
you’re (singing) a capella, they can make
sure you’ve got a strong melody in your
head,” said sophomore Sabrina Donaldson,
soprano. This will be Donaldson’s second
year in the All-State choir, and she sings
with the PHS choir and jazz choir, Petrichoral
– a group put together by high school
students – and the community choir. Donaldson
also acted in “Beauty and the Beast.”
“You need to have relative pitch – that’s
always helpful in the auditions – being able
to hear the notes and see them correctly,”
said junior Landon Preece, bass singer, who
is headed to All-State for the third year in
a row. Both he and Donaldson have performed
with the Honor Choir since they
were freshmen. Like Donaldson, Preece is
involved in the high school choir and jazz
choir, Petrichoral, community choir and
played LeFou in “Beauty and the Beast.”
On top of this, he accompanies the middle
school choirs on the piano and works at the
Pinedale Aquatic Center.
In addition to talent, practice and dedication,
it helps to have inspiration when
you’re a musician.
Donaldson, who “has been singing since
before kindergarten,” said she recently
found inspiration when she had the opportunity
to sing with actress and singer Kristin
“A couple weeks ago, Landon and I went
down and sang in Jackson,” Donaldson said.
“(Chenoweth) was down there, and we got
to sing with her. She was really nice and energetic.
So she turned into my inspiration.”
Preece described singing with Chenoweth
as “incredible.” Preece added that he is also
motivated by several a capella groups.
“I like Tim Faust, the bass from the group
Home Free,” he said. “I’ve also grown to
love Ave Kaplan, formerly of Pentatonix,
more. I auditioned for bass for All-State this
year because I love hearing basses and it’s
really fun. So those two singers were really
inspirational for me.”
Vitanza immediately thought of one of
the world’s most famous violinists.
“Hilary Hahn – she has great intonation
and amazing technique,” he said. “I have
a playlist and half of it’s her Bach pieces.
My favorite is probably Sonata No. 1 in g
Hosler said he looks up to both classical
and jazz trumpet performers.
“I like Maurice André,” he said. “He
plays a bunch of classical pieces, like he did
the trumpet concerto by Hayden – that’s one
of his biggest pieces.”
Hosler performed a movement from
Hayden’s famed trumpet piece at the PHS
Christmas concert this year to a standing
“For jazz, I like Maynard Ferguson because
he plays all those squeaky high notes,
and that’s pretty cool,” said Hosler.
Griffin gave a shout out to PHS band
teacher Justin Smith.
“Mr. Smith started me on the French
horn,” she said. “So he’s a big inspiration
for me because he got me into music. I listen
to just about everything, honestly, every
genre of music. I’m just a big music person.”
Rigo also credited his band teachers for
making him into a musician.
“My first two band teachers were actually
husband and wife back in North Carolina,”
he said. “I have to thank them because they
got me started. Mr. Smith is really who
transformed me into the best musician that
I could be. He’s part of the reason that I
would like to go into the music education
field and then come back and teach music.”
Rigo added that he enjoys listening to
jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon along
with Brahms, Mozart and Bach. Hayden
is another influence, and Rigo used one of
the composer’s sayings as his senior qoute:
“There was no one near to distract me, so I
was forced to become original.”
On Jan. 19, the six musicians from Pinedale
gather with the other students selected
for All-State and spend whirlwind
days of back-to-back rehearsals. Then each
ensemble hits the stage to perform at 7 p.m.,
Jan. 21, at Thunder Basin High School in
Those who are returning to All-State are
excited to go again.
“I’m looking forward to seeing all of
the people that I’ve seen in the past at All-
State,” Donaldson said. “Plus being part of
a really talented group of musicians who
really want to be there and working with really
high level conductors – it’s awesome.”
And the advice the returning All-Staters
have for new All-Staters, other than practicing,
“Make new friends, because you’ll have
them for life,” said Griffin. “It’s going to