Amanda Manausa, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has been a student musician for six years on the alto and soprano saxophone. She first began playing in sixth grade at Coral Springs Middle School because it was the only full-year elective option at the school and many of her friends were taking it.
“I was a member of the jazz band at Coral Springs Middle School, which greatly increased my passion for music due to our trip to Chicago for our performance at the Midwest Clinic. I was also in the [middle] school’s Wind Ensemble,” Manausa said. “In seventh grade, I received the ‘Outstanding Soloist’ award out of my jazz band at the Lakeside Jazz Festival. In eighth grade, I received the John Philip Sousa Band Award.”
Although Manausa told herself she wouldn’t get too involved in band, she believes music has changed her life. Manausa has pursued her passion for the arts and has gotten recognized on numerous occasions. Throughout high school, she has consistently performed grade seven solos and received superiors at both state and district Solo and Ensemble events, the highest scoring possible. These recognitions started in seventh grade and have continued upward to her current senior status.
“I made the Broward All County Concert Band from seventh through 12th grade, the All County Jazz Band in seventh, eighth and 11th grade and the Florida All State Concert Band from eighth through tenth grade,” Manausa said. “In 12th grade, I was selected to be a member of the Frost Honor Band at the University of Miami.”
Band at CSMS and MSD have introduced Manausa to new places and experiences. She’s traveled to Chicago, Illinois to perform at the Midwest Clinic in both seventh and tenth grade. New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall was also a destination with MSD’s Wind Symphony on March 6, 2018. In addition, other special performances were held in Orlando, Tampa, Daytona Beach, Atlanta and at the Lakeside Jazz Festival in Port Orange, Florida.
This school year, Manausa was selected as the Eagle Regiment’s band captain for the 2019-2020 season. Not only did this year’s show, “Winter’s End,” feature her as the main soloist during the duration of the show, but her responsibilities extended to representing the band as a whole through leadership, talent and responsibility. Additionally, she was awarded the Florida Marching Band Championships John Rusnak Memorial Scholarship through her participation in the Eagle Regiment band.
“I love performing. There’s so many different ways to play even one line of music, and the way someone interprets it allows them to express their individuality and musicality,” Manausa said. “Also, the feeling of camaraderie shared between musicians is unparalleled. You can meet someone for the first time and already have an instant connection with them through shared efforts and passion.”
Not only is Manausa a well-accomplished musician, she is also academically talented, becoming a National Merit Semifinalist this year. Furthermore, she is the Co-President of MSD’s Tri-M (Modern Music Masters) Music Honor Society and is an active member of both National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. Outside of school, she fosters kittens and volunteers at local band programs.
Manausa hopes to double major in music and an outside field, most likely business-related, in college. No matter what her future entails, she knows that music will continue to be a key component in her life. She will be performing tonight, on Thursday, Dec. 12 in MSD’s John Rusnak auditorium for the Winter Concert.