Students Use Recordings to Audition for All-State Music

Audrey Bristow, Staff Writer

While the All-State Music Festival scheduled in November was cancelled because of COVID-19, 32 band, choir and orchestrate students were selected as All-State Musicians.

Instead of traveling to Indianola to perform their prepared material live for a select group of judges, they recorded their auditions and sent them to the IHSMA (Iowa High School Music Association) for review and selection. 

While an in-person audition is how a musician plays or sings in that particular moment, and that moment is usually one of high anxiety, a recorded audition is different.

“While at first it seems great you have as many chances as you want to sing this section and create this cut, it also puts a lot of pressure on the kids,” choir director Hannah Ryan said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids upset that they have recorded something 10 times, and they still don’t feel like it’s good enough.”

Kayla Geerts ‘23 made the honor band. “I think that the video process definitely helped me because I know that with an in-person audition, being nervous can really affect my playing in a poor way,” she said. “So, with the ability to record however many times I needed, I felt more comfortable and could submit what I thought was my best work.” 

Geerts started preparing in late May by memorizing all 12 major scales and a solo. “I practiced almost everyday while I was at home because of the pandemic for about an hour each day, maybe for even longer when I was trying to learn the études,” she said.

Although being selected to perform at All-State and performing with other all-staters from around Iowa is a great experience, the practice to be selected is also valuable.“I feel like the growth my students have still had is pretty awesome,” Ryan said. I think that they have grown through this process still.”

 Any band students not selected automatically may audition for the SCIBA Honor Band in December . However, this festival has been cancelled as well, but honors will still be given out after selection.