53 CFHS musicians accepted to All-State

Fifty three CFHS students landed All-State spots to play in the Iowa All-State Band at the festival in November.

On Oct. 21, musicians from freshman to seniors auditioned for their spots in the All-State band, choir and orchestra. Two musicians from the band from percussion and brass sections included senior Kate Galyen and junior Cohen Eichhorn.

Galyen is involved in choir and band, although she only tried out for percussion for All State. She plays in the marching, jazz, concert and pep bands at school and sometimes plays for the Waterloo municipal during the summer. 

For her audition for the All-State Band of 2023 she played multiple pieces for her audition. Galyen said, “Auditioning on percussion is tough because you have multiple things you have to play on different instruments, since there are so many instruments you have to master.”

For her main solo on the marimba, however, she played the piece Etude in A Minor No. 2 by composer Casey Cangelosi. Although some All-States are more stressful than others, she said it’s a huge honor to make it in, and she is excited to play some more fun music this year, as she is one of the six CFHS students (the others are Emma Halvorsen, Kristen Engelhardt, Varun Gulwadi, Drew Ludeman, and Mason Munnik) that has had a full four years of All-State. Since her dad is a band director from UNI and her uncles are both high school band directors, she naturally gravitated toward music at a young age, eventually beginning to play percussion in fifth grade, and now she said she is hoping to someday teach percussion or play with a major orchestra or band. 

“The auditions can be stressful to prepare for, but regardless of the result, there will always be some great improvement as a musician,” Galyen said.

Eichhorn auditioned for trumpet for the All-State 2023 band but can also play the guitar and a little bit of viola, violin, piano and drums. Eichhorn currently plays in the jazz, pep and concert band as well as band during marching band season with his trumpet. For All-State 2023 he played the piece Etude de Concours by Alexandre S. Petit for his solo. Even though his parents had him begin playing at a very young age, this year he decided to take his music abilities more seriously and try out for the All-State band with his friend Taylor Johnson, who also made All-State this year.

Eichhorn said, “She wanted to have someone to do All-State with her because there weren’t as many people doing All-State for trumpet this year, and so she coerced me into doing that, and then I did after school lessons with Mr. Englehart which helped with the Etudes.”

This is also Eichhorn’s first year trying out for All-State, and he sees this as a very enriching experience for him and is very excited for the opportunity to play in the band. Even though he doesn’t know what his future holds for him, he hopes to keep his options more open and perhaps keep music within his life, whether it be his job or a hobby.

“I’d like to do something with music, keeping it in my life.” Eichhorn said. “I’m not sure whether I would like to go into something like trumpet performance and just focus on that one instrument or go into music education. I’m not really sure on what I want to do yet.”

The All-State festival not only includes the band but also the orchestra and its diverse string instruments. Senior Emma Halvorsen and sophomore James Peng were also accepted into All-State.

Halvorsen plays the violin, piano and guitar and auditioned with her violin with her solo being Introduction Rondo Capriccioso in g minor scale by Camille Saint-Saëns. Like Galyen, this is her fourth year in All-State, and she is once again excited for All-State and the new pieces this year. In second grade her mom had her start taking violin and piano lessons, and she participates in the school orchestra and choir as well as playing in the NIYO (Northern Iowa Youth Orchestra). And although All-State has been stressful in the past, over time she has gotten better at being less nervous for her audition.

Remember to stay calm and center yourself while you’re in your audition before you play/sing,” Halvorsen said.

She did All-State once again this year as she sees it as a great chance to play with a large, advanced music orchestra and says it’s worth it to play some challenging pieces with her closest friends.  

Sophomore James Peng played his cello for All-State 2023 and performed the piece Monn Cello Concerto in the g minor scale by Georg Matthias Monn. He also currently plays in the orchestra and the NIYO, as well as participating in other school activities such as football and the science olympiad. His parents wanted him to try music at a very young age, and he has been interested in it ever since. Even though he was nervous for his audition, he did his best to stay calm and run through his audition before it was his turn to play in front of the judges.

“It was pretty intense,” Peng said. “I tried to stay relaxed in order to get some last minute practice in. I try to get to the school about three hours before my audition to run through everything and get settled in.”

All-State was a big deal for him as he decided to audition for All-State to challenge his music skill. Although he doesn’t see it as something he will do for a career, he sees All-State as an opportunity to get better as a cellist. 

“I practiced my solos, all the scales required and the excerpts.” Peng said, “Mentally, it was just about establishing confidence.”

Of course, no musical festival would be complete without singing from the choir, and juniors Viviane Nunez and Samuel Smith made it into All-State for their extraordinary vocals. 

Nunez began singing for her elementary school choir and really enjoyed singing; unfortunately, she didn’t have any room in her schedule for choir in middle school, so she took a break from it until ninth grade when her friends wanted to do choir, and she decided to pick it up again. For All-State 2023, she tried out for the Alto 1 part and sang the song cuts from America the Beautiful by Samuel Ward, Arr. by Alice Jordan, Ama Namin by Fidel Gener Calalang, Regina Coeli by Wolfgang Mozart, I Am Loved by Christopher Harris and Sara Teasdale, Through Love to Light by Elaine Hagenberg. She planned to do All-State last year but felt like she wasn’t cut out to do it, but this year she decided to do it with her friends and made it into All-State for the first time.

“The idea was kind of stressful for me,” Nunez said, “especially since I’ve never done it before. I wasn’t sure how selective they were going to be and if I was cut out to do it, especially since I really hadn’t participated in anything major in choir before. Now having done it, I think that it was totally worth it.”

To practice for All-State is a long process for vocalists; practicing with groups of people as she described was like “auditioning to audition.” Although she doesn’t plan on going into music in the future, she is really excited for All-State and hopes that the worst is over considering the nerve racking auditions.

“Mentally, I just had to convince myself that I had it, and I didn’t have anything to worry about. Physically, I had to warm up a whole bunch and make sure that my voice wouldn’t strain,” Nunez said.

Smith has been playing music his whole life, starting piano at around 5 years old and eventually began singing in sixth grade, and even began the process of doing opus in later years. Currently he takes part in clubs such as theater and very soon speech, which is quickly approaching. For All-State 2023 he tried out for the Bass 2 part and sang the different song cuts with his quartet. This is his third year in All-State, and he is very excited to once again sing at the All-State festival.

Smith said, “Don’t be afraid of All-State because the coolest part about it is going through the process, learning the music because that’s when you really start to get better at music whether it’s vocal or instrumental stuff. Learning the music and improving your performance is the real joy of All-State.”

Like Nunez, vocalists have a long process of going to All-State, as a lot of students often try out for vocal parts for All-State. All the different quartets that try out for All-State improve and work together as they try to land a spot in All-State. In the future, even though his two older brothers both have music careers which made him decide to try music, he doesn’t think of going into music as a career, although he does want to keep music in his life.

“Singing in a group with three other really talented people is a really cool thing to experience, and it’s not something you do very often, so that process of learning music with three other people is really cool,” Smith said.

Although All-State auditions are over as the 2023 All-State moves into preparing for the All-State festival, which is Nov. 16-18 in the Iowa State Center in Ames, there is still always next year. If you are interested in playing in All-State next year whether you be a instrumentalist or a vocalist and to improve your music skills or for pure fun. Talk to your director and test your music skills for All-State 2024 next year.


All-State Information – https://ihsma.org/all-state-music-festival/


2023 All-State Students of Cedar Falls:


Emma Halvorsen Violin 4th Year 12

Mihika Iyer Violin 3rd Year 11

Summer Lim Violin 3rd Year 11

Chandler Taylor Violin 3rd Year 11

Diya Pradeep Violin 2nd Year 10

Kevin Du Violin 1st Year 9 – HJH

Aleah Flint Violin 1st Year 9 – PJH

Mason Munnik Viola 4th Year 12

Anton Hesselink Viola 3rd Year 12

Alex Christ Cello 3rd Year 11

Elliot Purdum Cello 3rd Year 12

Abigail Sliwinski Cello 3rd Year 12

James Peng Cello 1st Year 10

Asa Posey String Bass 3rd Year 12

Cade Frost Violin 1st Year, if accepted 9 – PJH

Natalie Thomas Flute 3rd Year 12

Alissa Charlton Flute 2nd Year 10

Cedric Liu Clarinet 3rd Year 11

Andrew Gerdes Clarinet 2nd Year 10

Grace Sliwinski Clarinet 1st Year 9 – HJH

Juliana Heinen Clarinet 2nd Year 12

Kaylee McSweeney Clarinet 2nd Year 11

Eleanor Smith Tenor Saxophone 1st Year 10

Britain Atkins Baritone Saxophone 3rd Year 11

Taylor Johnson Trumpet 3rd Year 12

Cohen Eichhorn Trumpet 1st Year 11

Ethan Jacobsen Trumpet 1st Year 9 – PJH

Rose Stuber French Horn 1st Year 11

Kristen Engelhardt Trombone 4th Year 12

Alanna Reynolds Euphonium 3rd Year 11

Kate Galyen Percussion 4th Year 12

Lucas Halvorsen Alternate Oboe 2nd Year, if accepted 10

Ryan West Alternate Clarinet 1st Year, if accepted 11

Josie Barry Alternate Alto Saxophone 1st Year, if accepted 11

Isabelle Cuhat Alternate Tenor Saxophone2nd Year, if accepted 11

Safvet Parpucu Alternate Bass Trombone 1st Year, if accepted 12

Drew Ludeman Soprano 4th Year 12

Ava Torres Soprano 3rd Year 12

Faith Hansel Soprano 2nd Year 12

Rhiannon Yaunk Soprano 1st Year 12

Cadence Smith Soprano 2nd Year 11

Lilly Schildroth Soprano 1st Year 11

Grace Roth Soprano 1st Year 11

Amelia Bryant Alto 3rd Year 12

Abby Dvorak Alto 2nd Year 12

Melia Stone Alto 1st Year 12

Catie Shockley Alto 2nd Year 11

Vivi Nunez Alto 1st Year 11

Varun Gulwadi Tenor 4th Year 12

Griffin Searfoss Tenor 3rd Year 11

Colin Hayes Tenor 2nd Year 12

Ethan Beneke Tenor 2nd Year 12

John Ferguson Tenor 2nd Year 11

James Schafer Tenor 1st Year 11

Logan Klug Tenor 1st Year 10

Wes Kitzman Bass 2nd Year 12

Jack Brooks Bass 2nd Year 11

Sam Smith Bass 3rd Year 11

Carter Hand Bass 1st Year 10

Charlie Lubs Bass 1st Year, if accepted

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