BEAVERCREEK — Emma Avery almost left her tryout for one of the midwest’s most prestigious and competitive indoor music ensembles.
“I just remembered walking in, then I’m actually doing it and I almost walked out,” the Beavercreek High School sophomore said of her November audition with Inertia Independent Winds. “Their level that they play musically is better than I’ve ever seen.”
Many of the members of the band are college students with extensive musical backgrounds and training.
She thought there was “no way” she could play up to that ability.
After going through the musical and marching tryout — and a week of anguish while awaiting her fate — Avery saw the notification pop up on her phone, informing her she landed one of five much-coveted trumpet positions for the 45-member band.
“I just started screaming,” Avery said, adding that her mom asked if there was bloody murder going on. “I said ‘No, I made it.’ “
While it may seem like it’s not a huge deal consider this: The winds portion of the group was founded in 2015 and has been named world champion twice in the last three years and was two-tenths of a point from a three-peat. It’s a highly skilled and highly competitive ensemble. And Avery is one of the youngest members at 16-years-old.
“It did scare me for a while that I have to prove that I belong to be here,” Avery admitted.
But despite the band’s impressive resume, pedigreed roster, and her pre-tryout hiccup, Avery was all-in on being part of the group since its inception.
“I’ve known about them since they started,” Avery said. “(In 2015) I saw them perform at the Winter Guard International Prelims, I was like ‘hey, I want to do that.’ ”
After attending an open house, she was 100 percent sure.
“I said ‘I definitely want to do that,’ ” Avery said.
Marching is not new for Avery, a member of the ultra-successful Beavercreek High School marching band. But it’s a big difference during competitions. The BHS band has 41 trumpets, compared to the five for Inertia, which has 45 total members. The marching Beavers have a few hundred.
Avery embraced the challenge.
“I really liked the whole experience the first year,” she said. “You get to experience something different than what you usually have. One thing I really like … when you’re performing you get to be a lot closer and you can show a lot more emotion.”
She used her time with Inertia, which began with grueling weekend practices in December, to soak up as much knowledge as she can.
“(The college students) use terms and they teach you things you wouldn’t learn in the high school band,” Avery said. “I walked out (of the audition) and said there are things I could have done better. I still have a lot to learn. I’m still learning going into this.”
She learned on the fly as the competition season began just two months after practices began. Inertia was undefeated prior to Winter Guard International in Dayton. That’s where the ensemble was defeated for the first time.
“We knew we performed to the best of our ability,” Avery said.
Avery’s experience has also made her think about her future, saying she may stay in the area for college so she can continue with the group.
She’s also hoping to teach her Beavercreek band mates some of what she learned.
After their finish at the WGI in Dayton, Inertia members had to wear their medal for 24 hours. For Avery, that meant wearing it to school.
“(Band director Matt) Frost just looked at me and said, ‘Really,’ ” Avery said.
There was “no way” she would take that medal off.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.