City Musicians Participate in State Music Concert

 The All-State Festival is a stressful but rewarding endeavor that many high schoolers audition for every year. The festival this year took place in Ames, Iowa on November 21st, 2015.

Danielle Tang ‘17 and Molly Lieu ‘17 auditioned for the All-State Chorus as a duet and made it in for the second year in row.

“I felt really prepared and I would’ve been surprised if I didn’t make it,” Tang said.

Nerves ran high for Rachel Strang ‘18, auditioning for the All-State Band for the first time.

“I wasn’t necessarily expecting to make All-State, but I wasn’t surprised that I got in,” Strang said.

Although Michael Berg ‘17 has gotten in every year he’s auditioned for the All-State Orchestra, and he was principal cello this year, he knows that it’s important to keep working.

“Even if you make it in one year, it’s not a given that you’ll make it in the next,” Berg said.

Principal cello means that Berg was recognized as the best high school cello player in the state of Iowa.

“First chair was exciting,” Berg said. “It’s kind of a subjective thing. I think that there were other cellos there who would’ve been able to play first cello too, but I’m happy that I was the one who got that opportunity.”

It was the most meaningful and the most beautiful concert I’ve ever been a part of and I really hope that I can continue.

— Rachel Strang '18

At the festival, band, orchestra, and choir had their own directors. But at the end of the concert, the choir director, Peter Ecklund, directed all three groups in America the Beautiful and Gloria. He is known by many students for his varying tempos.

“Every other measure it’s different,” Tang said. “You just have to interpret everything on the fly because he won’t do it the same way twice.”

Tang likes his unique style.

“He’s very fluid in the way he conducts,” Tang said.

In general, students seemed to like his approach to conducting.

“His tempos were difficult to follow at times, but it was fun,” Michael Berg ‘17 said.

Strang agreed that Ecklund’s conducting could be confusing, but she also thought that his conducting helped to convey the meaning behind the notes.

“We were one with the choir and it felt more meaningful than if he were just giving us the beats,” Strang said.

Berg believes that getting to work with other dedicated musicians was an interesting experience in itself.

“It’s a pretty great experience because you get to work with incredibly talented people,” Berg said.

Strang’s favorite part of the festival was the concert.

“It was the most meaningful and the most beautiful concert I’ve ever been a part of and I really hope that I can continue,” Strang said.

While All-State was generally a positive experience, it had its drawbacks. Tang and Strang agree that practicing all day was their least favorite part.

“Sitting all day was really rough,” Strang said. “I really hated the long rehearsals.”

You have to work hard and you definitely have to take a good amount of your time and devote it to All-State.

— Danielle Tang '17

Berg’s least favorite part was auditioning.

“Auditioning for both chair placement and to get in is never fun, but it’s usually worth it in the end,” Berg said.

Berg believes that your selection of music is important to have a successful audition.

“Make sure you have a solo that showcases your talents,” Berg said.

Tang and Strang agree that dedicating time to rehearsing the audition music is crucial as well.

“You have to work hard and you definitely have to take a good amount of your time and devote it to All-State,” Tang said.

Although knowing dynamics, articulation, and the various mechanics that come with learning music are key for the audition, Tang stresses that it is critical to understand what you’re performing.

“You have to know the meaning behind the text and how to express it well,” Tang said.

Strang agrees.

“It’s important to have your heart in it,” Strang said.

Tang believes that how you present yourself can make or break an audition.

“If you go in confidently, you have a much better chance. Everyone should give it a try and not be deterred if they don’t get in because you get a lot out of the process of auditioning,” Tang said. “You gain confidence, you gain experience, and you definitely learn a lot about music along the way.”