The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

All Strings Attached

Photo by: JOHN PHAN

Juniors Sophie Detorie and Luke Dumas have made All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble for the second time in their high school career after a lengthy audition process. 

Making it to the All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble is a long process that requires much dedication and practice. Requirements for a student being able to audition include being enrolled in a guitar class at school, and the student’s guitar teacher having a membership with the National Association for Music Education or Virginia Music Educators Association according to the All-Virginia Ensemble website. 

This year, juniors Sophie Detorie and Luke Dumas have made All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble for the second time in their three years of playing guitar in high school. Also from PFHS, senior Valeria Perero Santa Cruz and junior Kaley McQuinn have also been selected for the first time.

Detorie’s interest in guitar began in sixth grade, and she pursued it through joining guitar in middle school. “I knew people who joined the guitar program and enjoyed it, so I was like, why not give it a shot?” said Detorie. 

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As for Dumas, he started playing guitar five years ago and was mainly influenced by his dad. “We have all of the musical stuff, and then my brother went through the guitar program too,” said Dumas.

Dumas and Detorie carried over their love for guitar from River Bend to Potomac Falls their ninth-grade year when they began playing under the direction of teacher Hart Wells. “Both [Detorie and Dumas] have worked to refine their technique, sharpened their interpretive skills, and elevated their guitar-awesomeness,” said Wells. 

Wells believes as a guitar teacher he should invest time in each student and “find where they are in their musical path” in order to get a student to their greatest potential. “We are all students of the guitar, just at different points in our development,” said Wells. 

Additionally, Wells credits Dumas’ and Detorie’s respective guitar instructors outside of school, Evan Taucher and Kareem McCullough. “I serve as a second teacher who offers their opinions and support to their development, much like when people seek out doctors to get a second opinion on what procedures and directions to follow,” said Wells. 

Over the summer, all four students were required to learn a classical guitar song in order to play it for the audition that would determine whether or not they make it to the ensemble. The auditions took place at Potomac Falls on Sept. 10. 

After accidentally slamming his fingers in a car door just two weeks before auditions, Dumas felt a sense of uncertainty for this year’s ensemble. “I was not expecting to make it, so I felt good,” he said.

When finding out that Detorie made it, she felt “relieved” because of the hours she spent practicing over summer break. Detorie had the third highest score in the state after her audition which has earned her the distinction of section leader in the ensemble. “I’m looking forward to this year because it’s my first time as section leader, and I’m excited to work with great guitarists,” said Detorie. 

Looking into the future, Detorie, Dumas, McQuinn, and Santa Cruz will rehearse with Wells from now until their big debut at the VMEA Professional Development Conference located in Richmond, VA on Nov. 17.

The four will arrive in Richmond two days prior to concert day to practice with the entirety of All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble.

Having four Potomac Falls students, two of whom are returners, being a part of the All-Virginia Guitar Ensemble is certainly a reflection of the guitar program at our school. Only 45 students from the whole state of Virginia are selected to participate. 

“I’m excited for this upcoming performance because it’s fun spending time with people who care about guitar as much as I do,” said Dumas.