On Saturday, Oct. 26, Ava Rowland, Havyn Fish, Talia Cary, Jon’a Levi, C.J. Eliott and Simon Tracy were selected for the 2019 Iowa High School Music Association All State Music Festival. Alex Obert and Alex Berkenbosch were also selected as alternates.
The selected students attended the festival in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University starting on Nov. 21. through Nov. 23.
At the concert, selected students performed the songs “Unclouded Day,” arranged by Shawn Kirchner, “Afternoon on a Hill,” by Stephen Paulus, “America the Beautiful,” arranged by Alice Jordan, “Regina Coeli K. 127,” composed by Wolgang Amadeus Mozart, “The Heaven’s Flock,” composed by Ēriks Ešenvalds with lyrics by Paulann Peterson and “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” arranged by Peter J. Wilhousky with music by William Steffe.
Selected students were also required to learn an additional song for the concert on solfège. Solfège is a tool used to teach students how to sight read and how to recognize patterns while using seven basic syllables: low do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti and high do.
“Learning the additional song on solfège was pretty difficult for me because it was something I hadn’t really done before,” Rowland said.
As for the preparation process for auditions, it was grueling, and the students worked on the music from August to October.
In mid-August, interested students received the official all state music and were required to attend one of the numerous all state choral camps throughout Iowa. While attending the camp, students sight read the pieces for the first time and were given different tips and tricks to help solidify the vigorous notes and rhythms.
Iowa high schools were only allowed to send a total of 28 students to audition. Each school was also only given seven time slots for auditions so it was imperative that the students selected to audition were grouped together into a quartet, trio, or duo.
Elliott, a junior, enjoyed getting to bond with his quartet while working toward the common goal of potentially making All State.
“My quartet encouraged me to keep going even when I started to doubt myself and my abilities,” Elliott said.
Senior Levi tried to focus on being a leader for not only her quartet, but for others that have never gone through the All State process before.
During the actual audition at Washington High School, quartets or groups of auditionees, were only given seven to eight minutes to impress the judge.
After auditions, judges recalled students that they wanted to hear one more time before they made their final decision. Recalls consisted of three to four judges, and required the singer to perform different cuts than originally auditioned.
Rowland remembers feeling intimidated and anxious during her call back which consisted of three judges, all of whom did not display any facial expressions to avoid room for potential bias.
Once auditions and recalls were completed, lists were posted revealing who got in and who did not.
After the list was posted, Elliott remembered feeling as though his heart had lept out his chest while he continuously rechecked the list to make sure that it was really he who got in.
“The results made me very emotional because I have two medals now which instills a great deal of pride within myself,” Levi said.
Left to right- Rowland, Fish, Cary, Elliott, Levi.