OSEC Student Plays in All-State Orchestra

OSEC Student Plays in All-State Orchestra
Posted on 02/12/2016
Zachariah with his double bassAn article about OSEC Student Zachariah Smith was recently published in the Oxford Leader by news reporter Trevor Keiser: 

Sophomore Zachariah Smith described playing his double bass as part of the All-State High School Orchestra at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids Jan. 23 as a "great musical experience."

Smith auditioned for the coveted position and was selected out of 2,000 students from across the state.

"I really enjoyed All-State. I had a fabulous conductor, just phenomenal," Smtih said. "It was a lot of work, for sure. It was very tiring because I was standing up the entire time playing and then my arm felt like it was going to fall off, but I just (had) to push through it. It was just (an) amazing (experience) to me."

Smith is a second-year student in Oxford Schools Early College Program (OSEC). He is a school-of-choice student from Clarkston. 

"I was home-schooled from first grade through eighth grade," he said. "I started playing the bass while I was in sixth grade."

Smith said his mom always wanted him to play an instrument.

"Before I played the bass, I played the piano, but it just wasn't working out for me. I just didn't enjoy the piano, so when sixth grade came around, my mom put me in orchestra at Clarkston," he said. "I had to choose an instrument and the orchestra teacher there does a really good job, I think, of showing you your options for your instrument."

Smith chose the double bass.

"I was just drawn to the bass," he explained. "I don't know. It was just that really cool instrument in the background playing those low notes."

Smith played his double bass in the All-State Middle School Orchestra for two years, earning first chair in eighth grade. As a seventh-grader, he was first chair for the Premier Middle School Orchestra at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and the following year, he was offered a scholarship to attend the Blue Lake International Tour.

More recently, Smith has played in the Honors Orchestra at Oakland University, has had the opportunity to perform for a number of college professors and clinicians at the University of Michigan Bass Bash, the Richard Davis Bass Conference at the University of Wisconsin and the Butler University Bass Camp. Not only does he currently play for both the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras at Oxford High School, but he also performs in the Oakland Youth Symphony.

Smith said he transferred to Oxford for a couple of reasons.

"The cross-country team seemed to be doing better here at Oxford than (at) Clarkston and the OSEC program was here," he said.

Smith enjoys running both track and cross-country for the high school.

"I pretty much do that all year around. It's a lot of fun," he added. "I enjoy it, but I don't think I'm going to run in college, because I want to focus on my school work, but it's something nice to do right now."

As far as his future goes, Smith is hoping to get into the University of Michigan and major in bass performance. Knowing that orchestra jobs don't pay a whole lot, he said he'll probably have to get a teaching job on the side.

As far as the high school orchestra program goes, Smith said he enjoys having Natalie Frakes as his teacher.

"She's very young, but that's good in some ways," he said. "She's very energetic, which is nice. She's very positive and she can relate to us because there is not a huge age difference like previous teachers we've had."

You can read the full article on the Oxford Leader's Website Here: http://www.oxfordleader.com/Articles-School-News-c-2016-02-03-260783.113121-sub-OHS-bassist-plays-with-AllState-orchestra.html#mail