45 musicians accepted into All-State

On Saturday, Oct. 20, 45 of Cedar Falls’ ninth through 12th grade band, orchestra and choir students secured a spot at the All-State music festival taking place on Nov. 15- 17. Twenty students from band, 16 from choir and nine from orchestra that attended were accepted on Saturday.

The festival honors students who excel with the music they take part in and gives them an opportunity to share with others who equally excel. Students practice scales, chords and music to prepare for the audition where they will perform in front of multiple judges in hopes of receiving one of the limited spots at the festival. 

Musicians are eligible to try out for All State when they reach ninth grade, and can continue trying out until 12th grade, though being accepted once doesn’t mean an automatic acceptance the following years they try out. Judges often change what they are looking for in musicians and may not accept someone who received a solo in the festival the previous year. 

This uncertainty evokes stress in the musicians. “This year is a huge relief after making it the last two years and having a lot of pressure to succeed again. It’s also just happiness and joy again, since it’s been a big part of my life, and success is pretty great to experience,” senior William Sims said. Sims has made it into All State on the saxophone his sophomore, junior and senior year. 

Though not everyone who tries out for All State makes it in, the process of working hard for something and building confidence to go before a judge proves itself to be a great learning experience. “Just to be able to practice the music, you have to study and work on things with lots of detail and practice a lot. The idea of doing something over and over again and improving it every time is one of the things that helps musicians the most,” sophomore Kallista Mohl said. Mohl tried out for the first time this year on voice and accomplished the goal she had since fifth grade of being a part of All State. 

Williams, a musician who tried out his freshman year but struggled with nerves, grew from the process of trying out.  This process eventually led to future success. “With my first year, I tried out as a freshman, and I did not succeed in the audition. I prepared well, and I was doing well before leading up to it, but I experienced some really difficult failure, and it was really hard for me to go through, but through that experience I learned how to deal with failure better,” Williams said. 

When auditioning for All State, musicians try out with others to increase the chance of the group or individuals making it in. Because of this process of auditioning in a small group, musicians learn how to listen to each other and play well together. “In All State you learn to work together as an individual. If you need to back down, you back down a lot. If you need to play out, you play out,” senior Astoria Chao said. This will be Chao’s fourth time making it into All State on the violin.

Being a part of All State is an out of this world experience for many musicians because they not only learn about themselves as humans and musicians; but at the end of all the hard work, they get to share the experience of playing or singing in a room full of musicians who value the art just as much as they do. “It’s super exciting because the orchestra there is amazing, and playing with all the band instruments in a symphony, it feels like a whirlwind around you when you play,” Chao said.

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