Matthew Short Reflects on All-State Music Festival Experience

Matthew Short is looking forward to performing at Symphony Hall


Matthew Short represented SHS at this year’s Massachusetts All-State music festival

Taylor MacFaden, Contributing Writer

Several months ago, a group of musically gifted SHS students hopped on a bus to audition for Senior Districts. The MMEA Southeastern Senior District Festival is an opportunity for talented high school students to sing or play an instrument for a chance to be accepted into a selective music festival. If invited, students have the opportunity to perform with fellow elite musicians across the southeast of MA. Although the selection process is quite difficult, each SHS musician demonstrated the patience and dedication necessary to succeed with all achieving high musical scores. Five outstanding students scored above and beyond, qualifying to audition for the Massachusetts All-State music festival. 

Among the performers was SHS junior Matthew Short, who was seated fourth chair, trumpet 1 at All-State. Even though the auditions were held in January 2023, Short had been preparing since June of 2022. Although students are not able to choose their pieces, Short was able to practice with his trumpet teacher, Robert Hoveland. Months later, he discovered he was accepted into the state-wide event.

Upon learning the news that he had been accepted, Short said he experienced a variety of emotions: “I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of ‘you’re lying’ to Mr. Thomas when he told me.” Short added, “Everything felt like a blur, though, since I think I was just overcome with shock, excitement, etc. It was all very surreal. It still didn’t feel very real when I walked into the conference room at the actual festival, and I’m sure it won’t at the actual concert either.”

Meeting with fellow musicians was exciting for Short, who explained that during the rehearsal, he found it fascinating to hear how everything fell into place. Comparing his experience with school bands and previous festivals, Short said, “Sometimes conductors may need to drill certain sections of a piece to make sure that it is perfect, but in this case, the conductor would ask for one change, and everyone would fix it immediately.”

While first rehearsing, Short admitted to being a bit nervous about having to play extremely high notes. Taking the time to run through the sheet music, he noticed progress in his range, which was a reward in itself. At the end of practice, each ensemble shared their songs with one another. Short was very impressed with the choir and enjoyed hearing what everyone had been working on.

When asked about his musical inspirations, Short brought his instrument teacher, Robert Hoveland, into the conversation once more. Even though Hoveland primarily plays the trombone, he has always been a major influence on Short. His older brother, Ben, is a fellow trumpeter as well and has inspired Short to continue his journey. “We’ve had a lot of similar experiences in the music world, and I’ve always made it my goal to match–if not exceed–his ability,” he noted. 

Unfortunately, the actual concert was postponed; nevertheless, Short is very eager to play at Symphony Hall in Boston, calling the venue “the best in the country, if not the world!” After attending multiple performances at Symphony Hall, Short said he is ready to “actually sit on the stage facing out into the beautiful hall.”