Students display all-star talents

Numerous students at Ames High are involved in music in school. But some students choose to go above and beyond by becoming involved in the All-State Music Festival. On October 25, dedicated students headed to their auditions in the hopes of joining the best high school musicians in Iowa. The students who are accepted will then go on to participate in an All-State concert on November 22. This year, 68 students in band, choir and orchestra auditioned for All-State. Students auditioning had to put in a great amount of effort before the big day. They had to meet a variety of requirements, such as memorizing scales and learning solos and etudes. For instance, for All-State chorus, students must learn the pieces they are given and be able to sing a capella, while for All-State Orchestra as well as All-State Band, scales and excerpts must be memorized and a solo must be prepared. Some students underwent grueling practice regiments in order to prepare for the big day. “We’ve been practicing every single morning for over a month, and even on Sundays for a few hours,” junior Zoe Russell said about her ensemble group for All-State Chorus. Before All-State auditions, the students were all very anxious, especially the first-timers. “It’s really stressful,” sophomore Mariah Crotty said, who is auditioning for clarinet. “I’m just hoping to make recalls.” On the other hand, veterans of All-State were familiar with the challenge. “All-State is actually not as bad as you think it’ll be,” said junior John Yang, who is a violinist auditioning to be in All-State Orchestra for his third year. “You imagine the standard is a lot higher than it actually is.” Still, even the All-State experts admitted to being somewhat anxious. “I feel as though I need a gajillion hours of practice to help me sleep soundly,” Yang said. Many students auditioned for All-State because they wanted to improve and hone their musical skills, but also because they wanted to test themselves. “[All-State] will obviously show off my wonderful talent,” sophomore Tim Fernando, a flutist, said sarcastically. In reality, Fernando said that he was “scared to death.” When October 25th finally arrived, the students piled onto a school bus at 6 A.M. and headed to Indianola, where the auditions took place. Many students from Ames High were successful and will be a part of the concert on November 22nd. One of these students is sophomore David Lee, who auditioned for clarinet in All-State Band. “Most of the time, we were hoping ‘Dear God, please don’t let there be a second recall,’” Lee said about the stressful auditions. However, after all the struggle, Lee was glad about making it in. “I feel peachy,” Lee said. Unfortunately, some students were not able to make it, but they remained positive. “It helped me improve my ability to play violin,” freshman Daniel Yang said, who auditioned for All-State Orchestra. Even though Yang was not successful this time, he said that he would “probably audition for All-State next year.” In the end, all the students who participated, whether they made it to the next level or not, can say they had pushed themselves to do their best, and that the experience was worthwhile. Yang agreed. “It’s an experience that I’ll never forget.”