Choir Students Give It Their All-State

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Quartet practicing for All State: Caroline Brown '16, Hugh Brown '17, Emmett Adamson '16, Eddy Galstad '16 (left to right)

Freshman Elias Perez has been singing and performing for more than half his life. For Perez, however, it was not just a passion for music that propelled him to try out for an All-State quartet- it was the challenge.

“I really love to sing and it’s always been an awesome thing to do,” Perez said. “I love to challenge myself and All-State seemed perfect for that.”

Perez was one of 26 singers selected through a preliminary audition to be in an All-State choir quartet. These ensembles are to continue in the All-State process and eventually audition for a chance to earn a spot in the prestigious Iowa All-State Chorus. Although the choir is only open to high school students, it is incredibly diverse, consisting of singers from over 170 different schools across Iowa. The audition will happen on October 24th this year, and a concert will take place in November, along with the All-State band and orchestra.

With diversity, however, comes selectivity. Being selected for the Iowa All-State Chorus is often regarded as the highest honor a high school choir student can receive. Out of the thousands of singers that audition, only 600, or roughly 17%, are chosen for the choir, with 150 singers on each voice part.

I would like to become a stronger singer, learn more [singing] technique, have a great time, and meet some new people.”

— Elias Perez '18

Despite the daunting statistics, Perez remains hopeful about the audition process.

“I am looking forward to the experience. I would like to become a stronger singer, learn more [singing] technique, have a great time, and meet some new people,” Perez said. “[The experience] gives me good practice for next year and the year after, so maybe sometime, within the next four years, I can get in.”

Evelyn Galstad ‘16, All-State chorus veteran, attests to the incredible experience.

“The second I heard the All State Choir sing my sophomore year, I realized what I was a part of. I knew that the Iowa All State Chorus was truly special,” Galstad said. “The All State Chorus of 2013 and 2014 made lasting impacts on my life and I know that I want to go back to have that magical experience again.”

With two years of All-State chorus and soloist experience under her belt, Galstad has an impressive record- nevertheless, she still promises to work hard.  

I’m more than determined to get in. I will know this music better than I know myself. That’s my mindset.”

— Eddy Galstad '16

“[It] doesn’t mean I’m guaranteed a spot,” Galstad said. “I’m more than determined to get in. I will know this music better than I know myself. That’s my mindset.”

Dr. James Thompson, City High choir director, looks forward to this year’s All-State program as well, and sets his expectations high.

“I want all my students to get to a level where they feel prepared. I want them to work as hard as they can. It’s nice when students are accepted, but the most important thing is when students can feel really good about their product,” Thompson said.

Although Thompson acknowledges the difficulty of making All-State due to its selectiveness, he strongly believes that every singer who auditions benefits.

“If a student goes through the process, they’re going to be successful anyway,” Thompson said. “They’re going to improve and they’re going to understand more about music. However, it takes a lot more than just a great voice to be selected for [the All-State chorus]. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and that all comes back to practicing.”