When October rolls around the music wing at City High School is bustling with anxious students from orchestra, band, and choir all preparing for the Iowa All-State auditions. This year would have been the 74th annual festival but due to COVID-19, the festival was canceled. However, this did not stop the auditions, which continue in an online format. Despite the challenging circumstances, students are still able to gain the honor and opportunities that follow being accepted into the prestigious organization known as All-State.
For Jared Moninger ‘23, the audition process for voice is altogether new after auditioning with the orchestra program last year. Moninger, like many other auditionees, is facing the challenges involved in the program brought on by COVID-19.
“The hardest part is not being able to rehearse with other people which is normally a big part of the process. I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of or get advice from. It is just me,” Moninger said.
This year, auditions will be filmed and sent in for judging different from previous years. Orchestra and band students prepare scales, excerpts, and an individual piece whereas choir students only have excerpts from their pieces to prepare. Some of the choir pieces include Canticum Novum, Sanctus – Verdi, Denn Er hat seinen Engeln, and Best of All Possible Worlds which is Moninger’s favorite piece this year.
“I really like music this year. This is my first year auditioning on voice, so I can’t compare it to years past, but it is really fun to sing,” said Moninger. “As for recording versus an in-person audition- both have their pros and cons. For me, I would prefer a recorded audition because you get multiple takes and it’s not one and done like a normal audition. It is much more laid back.”
Something that hasn’t changed from years past is how much students progress during the audition process. From increased practicing to individual lessons with instructors, students get to hone in on their skills. Moninger said he has made lots of improvements during this process.
“I have learned to sing according to my voice part. I used to just sing the notes but now I have learned to sing more like a tenor. Altos and tenors sing completely differently for example. I have also improved stylistically by learning to sing differently for different pieces.”
Moninger encourages other students to tryout next year.
“Just go for it there is nothing to lose. It is a lot of hard work so be prepared for that but the audition process makes you a much better musician.”