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All-state auditioning

Junior Rafe Miller and high school choir teacher Ms. Hoeppner.

OSAGE | On Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, high school students all around upper Iowa, ranging from freshmen to seniors, finally put their musical skills to the test.

After all the hard work and countless hours these students put into learning their music and practically perfecting all the notes and dynamics of each individual piece of music, students auditioned to see if they made it into the All-State band, orchestra or choir.

None of the students could ever even start learning their music, let alone perfect it, without their music directors.

I interviewed Ms. Hoeppner, our choir director, about what it takes to become an All-State musician.

She said students receive their music in late July. They begin working on it as soon as they can. During the first weekend of August, students are allowed to go to the All-State camp for three full days. At the camp, they learn, become familiar with and record each of the pieces of music. They do this so they know how they are supposed to sing it and what the judges will be looking for in auditions. In order for any student to get in, they have to go through the auditioning process.

“It’s very stressful. You have to really be focused,” Hoeppner said. She went on to add, “What we do is we get together here in the atrium this year and we make sure our music is marked correctly, because they only have us do certain cuts in each song.

“Then we warm up and sing through them all.”

As Hoeppner explained more about the process, she said, “I have each group go out to the bus about a half hour before their warm up time, then we warm up some more and go through the cuts. Then we get there just in time for the warm up about 14 minutes before we sing.

“We get to run through the cuts one more time in the classroom,” she said. “Usually we have to wait about 30 seconds until we audition, then the judge will ask a question, the students will introduce themselves, sing through the cuts, and then walk out.

“The students have seven minutes to prove that they’re All State worthy.”

She said the goals this year would be to have a great audition with no regrets, and, of course, to get into the All-State choir.

I also interviewed Rafe Miller, a junior in high school, who is now a three-time All-State musician. Rafe has gone to the All-State camp for three years now. I asked him what he thought of it, and if he thinks it helped.

He said his first year of going he went alone so he got to focus more, but he didn’t have as much fun. His sophomore and junior years he went with a few other friends, so he enjoyed it a lot more.

“Yeah it definitely helped,” he said, “because you just get so many reps at it in just a short amount of time. It’s kinda just fused into your brain.”

I asked Rafe about what he thought of the music this year. He said so far these pieces of music have been the hardest out of the three years. He also thinks the music is weird but also fun.

Rafe has now been selected for All State three years. He explained what he felt every time he found out he got in, “My freshman year was very emotional because I worked so hard for it and I went to lessons every week all year,” he said. “I was very happy and I called my parents screaming that I got in.”

Finally, I asked Rafe what his experience was at the All-State music festival. He said it was breathtaking. He said he walked into where they perform and it was massive. For his sophomore year, he said he was just ready to go and he was so excited to meet new people and mostly to make amazing music.

The 2018 All State music festival will be held from November 15 - 17 at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

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