MHS sends record number of music students to All-State

MHS sent 12 students to the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State conference in Peoria, Jan. 24-27. They include, front row left to right, Madeline Hoelzer, Bianca Rodriguez, Jenna Stanford, Natalie Landgraf and Mia Artman; back row, Rachel Brandner, Jacob Stohr, Cole Pursell, Blaire Collins and Jessie Dooley. Not pictured are Kole Buckley and Payton Klatt. (Reporter photo)

MENDOTA – Twelve Mendota High School music students recently attended the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-State conference in Peoria, Jan. 24-27. “I believe this is the most we have ever sent to All-State,” commented Lori Schrock, MHS choir director.

For a school the size of MHS, the record number is an achievement, she added.

“The All-State bids are an indication of the talent and dedication of the students,” also noted Chris Dortwegt, MHS band director.

For students attending the conference, it is an opportunity to learn, play with other students of equal caliber, and meet nationally renowned conductors.

For Schrock and Dortwegt, this conference is the best opportunity for them, along with other Illinois music educators to participate in high-quality professional development.

The run for All-State began back in October when students auditioned for the ILMEA Festival held Nov. 11 at Augustana College in Rock Island. Thirty-seven MHS music students were selected to participate. From that same audition, scores were tallied and All-State bids were chosen, with the highest scores earning honors. Selectees were also required to attend the district festival and participate fully at all rehearsals and the festival performance before being honored with the All-State bid.

The students earning this year’s bid included:

All-State Band–Mia Artman, flute; Madeline hoelzer, clarinet; Bianca Rodriguez, bass clarinet;

All-State Orchestra–Jessie Dooley, bassoon;

All-State Chorus–Rachel Brandner, soprano 1; Payton Klatt, soprano 1; Kole Buckley, tenor 1; Cole Pursell, bass 1;

Honors Chorus–Blaire Collins, soprano 2; Natalie Landgraf, alto 1; Jenna Stanford, alto 2; and Jacob Stohr, bass 1.

This year’s four-day conference, themed Music: Central to a Well-Rounded Education, was held at the Peoria Civic Center, culminating with the All-State Concert on Jan. 27. The MHS students were among 1,500 selected musicians representing over 300 high schools across Illinois.

The ILMEA board of directors sought to create a conference program that featured musical performances and demonstrations of the highest caliber, providing conference attendees with exposure to a wide variety of performances by various types of music ensembles that represented the geographic diversity of Illinois.

As a member, Mia Artman performed with the IVCC Wind Ensemble in one of the Illinois Music Education Conference sessions. This performance was regardless of her status as an all-state musician.

For the concert programs, the students performed under the direction of guest conductors, Joanne May, assistant professor of music education at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst; Lee Nelson, director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa; Alfred Watkins, conductor, clinician, lecturer, and retired band director at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga; and Brady Allred, artistic director and conductor of the Salt Lake Choral Artists in Salt Lake, Utah.

Concert music selections included “Regina Coeli” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, “Earth Song” by Frank Ticheli, “Celebration” by Charles Sayre, and “Huapango” by Jose Moncayo, among others.

ILMEA is the largest fine arts education organization in Illinois and among the largest in the nation. The All-State conference was an opportunity for Schrock and Dortwegt to learn and bring back new ideas to their students. The All-State participants returned with added knowledge to share with fellow music mates, as well. “This is also a great opportunity for the best of our music students to meet other equally dedicated music students from across the state, and that’s an important part, too,” said Dortwegt.

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