• Important Dates -->
  • 5/17: Rocky awards
  • 5/20: All School Awards (virtual)
  • 5/22: Region Track Champs
  • 5/23: Band Concert
  • 5/28: Orchestra Concert
  • 5/29: Chorus Concert
  • 6/4: Miscast Caberet
  • 6/6: Capstone Gala
The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


The Student News Site of Rock Ridge High School


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The Note in a Bigger Journey: Rock Ridge Sends Three Musicians to All-States

On April 19, one Rock Ridge Band and two Rock Ridge Sings students were selected to participate in the All-State Virginia concert in Richmond.
Senior Ananya Akula stands next to Rock Ridge Sings choral director Jordan Markwood after the concert. Photo courtesy of Ananya Akula.

Waiting for the conductor’s mark, the musicians strengthened their grips on their instruments or  prepared their vocal chords as they prepared to play in one of the biggest concerts of their lives.

On April 19th, Rock Ridge Band and Rock Ridge Sings sent three students — one for band and two for chorus — for the All-Virginia concert in Richmond. The musicians practiced day and night for the concert, mastering the pieces they were soon going to play for an audience. Senior Arun Jannupreddy is a clarinet player, and he spent a lot of time working on the song “Steampunk Suite” by Erika Svanoe. “We did a lot of rehearsing over three days; I think we had 20 hours of practice, so it was a lot of work,” Jannupreddy said.

To qualify for all-state, students had to have gotten accepted into the all-district level of band, chorus, or orchestra. They are then allowed to audition for all-state, for which the acceptance rates are slim. Additionally, the highest scorers from the district band also had the opportunity to participate at the state level. “If you get a high enough chair, you can get an audition to all-states; it takes a few months of preparation to get a high chair for this,” Jannupreddy said.  

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In addition to practicing for the concert, students were subject to an even more rigorous schedule on the days leading up to the concerts. The event took place at the Richmond Convention Center and students from all aroundVirginia attended the concert. The event fueled students’ love for music and led them to realize that they wanted to pursue it in the future. Senior Ananya Akula wants to be a chorus director in the years to come. “Through chorus, I found and connected with many people I probably wouldn’t have [otherwise],” Akula said.

Sophomore GraceMonét Carper was also selected for all-state chorus after putting in the work practicing every day, even when it was stressful. She powered through, knowing that her corner was filled with support. “Mr. Markwood was always there for me; so was Ananya, [who let] me know that I got this in the bag,” Carper said. 

Mr. Markwood called my parents on my phone and said, ‘Hey, we need to talk about Grace,’ and [my parents] were, like, ‘Oh my God, is she okay?’ And [Markwood] said, ‘Oh, yeah, she just got all-state!’

After being told that Carper got into all-state, she and Markwood played a playful prank on her parents. “Mr. Markwood called my parents on my phone and said, ‘Hey, we need to talk about Grace,’ and [my parents] were, like, ‘Oh my God, is she okay?’ And [Markwood] said, ‘Oh, yeah, she just got all-state!’” Carper said.

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About the Contributors
Arnav Mahajan
Arnav Mahajan, Staff Writer
Arnav Mahajan is a freshman and it's his first year on the newspaper staff. He joined the newspaper because he has a strong passion for writing, which he uses to express himself. His main style of writing is argument and opinion-based pieces. He's looking forward to getting good work done and meeting the rest of the staff. When he’s not writing, he enjoys playing sports and video games, especially puzzle-based ones. He’s so excited to be part of the staff this year.
Muhammad Reda
Muhammad Reda, Staff Writer
Sophomore Muhammad Reda is a returning member of The Blaze as a Staff Writer. He enjoys photography, which is a major reason for his interest in Newspaper. Outside of school, Muhammed enjoys reading and listening to all types of music. Muhammad’s main goal this school year is to thrive and do better than he did the previous year. . Muhammed enjoys hanging out with The Blaze staff, because he enjoys the company and how they encourage them to work harder. Muhammed strives to become a photographer for The Blaze in the coming years.
Rodrigue Gomado
Rodrigue Gomado, Staff Writer
Rodrigue is a junior and happy to be rejoining The Blaze this year after hitting a pause during sophomore year. He describes himself as funny, smart and interesting, and his drive to pursue activities  ‘just because why not?’ has led him to join a multitude of Rock Ridge’s in-school and after school clubs. Depending on the athletic season, Rodrigue can be found in the school gym practicing cheer stunts with his teammates, or out on the Track field. He serves as the Junior Class Communications Officer and has fun planning SCA events such as Homecoming Hallway Decorating or preparing Friday morning school announcements.

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