CLEAR LAKE | A trio of Clear Lake siblings has achieved a feat their instructor says is unheard of in Iowa high school music.
Senior Irene Swanson and sophomores Theo and Tim Swanson have earned spots in the 201-piece All State Orchestra. The orchestra performs during the 2017 All State Music Festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday in Ames, culminating with a concert 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Hilton Coliseum.
Students selected for the orchestra must distinguish themselves not only as a top player worthy of All State, but the best player in his or her instrument group, band director Brandon Borseth said.
"It is an honor all by itself to make All State, but to have three siblings all make it in the same year and to be accepted into the orchestra is unheard of," Borseth said.
The Swansons began their musical careers as fifth-graders. Irene said she started playing the French horn because her mom "thought I should be in band."
Her twin brothers followed — Theo plays the trombone, while Tim plays the oboe. This will be the twins' second All State performance.
They, senior Abbi Parcher and other Clear Lake students auditioned for All State in Hampton about a month ago.
Parcher, who plays the clarinet, said the most nerve-wracking part isn't the audition — it's seeing the results being posted.
"First you have to wait for your instrument list, then it feels like it takes 10 minutes for that paper to roll down," she said. "Then you have to find your name.
"The entire process is like getting kicked in the stomach, but it's worth it," said Parcher, who will be performing for her third time at All State. She will join the 281-piece All State Band.
The Swanson siblings on Thursday auditioned for and received top spots in the orchestra. Irene was named second chair, while Theo and Tim were named first chair in their sections.
All credit Borseth with helping them prepare for the prestigious event.
"I would not be in the place I am without Mr. Borseth," Tim said. "He is an incredible teacher and a great person all-around."
Irene and Abbi are planning music-related careers. Both will attend the University of Northern Iowa, where Abbi will major in performing arts management and Irene in music education.
"I like working with kids," Irene said. "The signs were pointing me in that direction."