All State Band during COVID-19

All-State is Iowa’s highest honor for band, orchestra, and choir students in grades nine-12. The culminating concert is usually held in November in Hilton Coliseum on Iowa State University’s campus, but not this year due to COVID. 

Even rarer is for freshmen to make this elite musical crew, but this year two freshmen from Peet Junior High made it into All-State: Katherine Galyen and Juliana Heinen. 

 “In the 14 years I have taught in Cedar Falls, there have only been five freshmen from Peet to achieve this honor, including Kate and Juliana,” Peet band director Ben Byersdorfer said.

Heinen has been playing the clarinet for over four years, and she said she wanted to challenge and push herself, so All-State was a challenge that she wanted to try. 

“Ever since the middle of seventh grade, I have been getting lessons from a clarinet student at UNI, so in each lesson, my lesson teacher and I would work on the audition material,” Heinen said. 

In September, Heinen focused on learning each of the etudes in small chunks one at a time so she could learn the notes and articulation. Then in October, she focused on adding style and dynamics to the etudes. She also focused on practicing my 12 major scales and her solo piece. 

“I practiced all the time at school during Tiger Time and study halls,” Heinen said. “I also practiced a lot on weekends. I probably on average ended up practicing three-five hours a week” In addition to the 12 major scales, she tackled the chromatic scale, a section from the C minor etude, a section from the F# major etude, and a minute of her solo piece.

Galyen has played the drums for around five years and said she is hoping to keep playing throughout high school and maybe even after that. “For me, the audition process is really just all about improving and seeing myself grow and my instrument.” 

Playing all of the percussion instruments gave her a lot of work to prepare and a lot of things to have to do. “There was an etude for each of the three major percussion instruments, so that would be the timpani, marimba, and snare drum. Then you also have to prepare your 12 major scales, your chromatic scale, some snare rolls, different types of roles and then you had to be able to tune the timpani perfectly, so it’s a lot of stuff to prepare,” Galyen said.

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