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MHS All-State Band

The following Muscatine High School students were selected for either the All-State Band or Orchestra, they are, from left: Teddy Van Winkle, senior, trombone; Gabby Hartman, senior, bassoon; Emily Fillmore, junior, violin; Kristi Heinberg, senior, clarinet; Lauren Kundel, sophomore, bass; and Jack Eichelberger, sophomore, bass.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Five students from Muscatine High School have been chosen as to participate in the instrumental portions of the Annual All-State Concert Festival on Nov. 21 in Ames.

The 2015 Festival will celebrate the 69th anniversary of this event.

Twelve MHS band students auditioned for the 281-piece All-State Band and six MHS orchestra students auditioned for the 201-piece All-State Orchestra on Oct. 24, in Washington, Iowa.

Approximately 17 percent of the students who audition are selected for membership in the All-State ensembles.

Two students will be performing in the All-State Band and three will be performing in the All-State Orchestra. There is also one alternate for the orchestra.

Being accepted into All-State is the highest honor for band in Iowa. 

One of the students accepted into the All-State Orchestra was Gabby Hartman. Hartman is a senior at MHS who plays the bassoon. She has been accepted into All-State for all 4 years of high school.

According to Director of Bands Jeff Heid, this is a rare accomplishment.

"[Hartman] is truly in the elite of the MHS Band and the state of Iowa," Heid said.

The Iowa High School Music Association will recognize Hartman and the other students who have been in the All-State group four years at the concert on Nov. 21.

Emily Fillmore, a junior at MHS, has been accepted to All-State Orchestra for her third year. Emily plays the violin.

Lauren Kundel is the third student who was selected to play in the All-State Orchestra. Kundel is a sophomore at MHS and plays the double bass. This is her second year performing at All-State.

The alternate for the orchestra is Jack Eichelberger, a sophomore at MHS. An alternate is a student who plays at an All-State level, but isn't taken simply because only so many can be taken from our All-State district. Eichelberger plays the string bass.

According to Eichelberger, if they didn’t fill the spots up at all the sites or if someone can’t attend for some reason he would take their place.

Teddy Van Winkle and Kristi Heinberg, both seniors at MHS, are going to All-State Band for the second time. Van Winkle plays the trombone and Heinberg plays the clarinet.

To clarify the difference between band and orchestra, in short, orchestra is all of the string instruments plus a small group of winds and percussion and no saxophone, whereas, band is all “band” instruments plus a few string basses.

Students who play instruments that could be in either band or orchestra did not get to choose which they were accepted into. The students are told which group they will be in based on their performance in the auditions.

All of the students accepted shared in their excitement about the event.

“I’m really excited. I’m really glad that I get to go again. I was really nervous this year, but it was nicer to know how it was going to go because I went last year," Lauren Kundel said.

Others echoed that.

“I was really excited and honored to be accepted. I was there once before so I really wanted to be back in it again because it was a really rewarding experience. It's a lot of work and being able to make it in and say you're good enough to make it is a great feeling,” Kristi Heinberg said.

“It was really exciting. It’s hard to do, because it requires a lot of focus, but the reward of making it in is totally worth it," Emily Fillmore said about her experience.

Fillmore continued by explaining the qualification process for the auditions.

“You had to play two major three octave shifting scales, two excerpts and a solo," Fillmore explained.

"The audition process is exactly the same for band and orchestra. In fact, when you audition, if you play an instrument like me (trombone) you can be in either the band or the orchestra and you don’t choose. They decide for you,” Teddy Van Winkle added regarding the process.

Where students are placed can also change from year to year. Van Winkle was one student who was previously placed in orchestra, but is now placed in band.

“I think it will be interesting since last year I was in the orchestra and this year I am in the band. I think it will be a very different experience. We rehearse in different places. We play different music, different styles and stuff like that. We also have different conductors. While I’ll still enjoy the experience, Kristi and I will have a different experience from what Gabby and Emily will have," Van Winkle explained.

Van Winkle was hoping to continue in All-State Orchestra, but sees being in All-State Band as a new experience.

“I was hoping to get into the orchestra because I already knew what songs the orchestra was playing but I’m not disappointed I'm in the band. It’s just a different experience," Van Winkle said.

Heinberg agreed, saying it's just a different kind of experience.

Hartman was another student who has performed in both band and orchestra, and is excited to be returning to orchestra.

"I’m extremely excited, but I’m also nervous. I was extremely nervous going into the audition thinking that if I didn’t make it I’d only be a three year All-Stater when I could’ve been a four year. I was relieved when I got in and really excited because the piece that we are playing is called Pines of Rome and I’ve actually played it two times before and it is one of my favorite orchestral pieces. I wanted to be in orchestra again because I knew the piece had a wonderful bassoon solo that I wanted to play and I was in orchestra last year and I kind of preferred it over band," expressed Hartman.

When the students return for the All-State concert in November, they will have to be fully prepared for a second audition that will determine their placement in their chair section.

"Your part is based on what district of Iowa you’re in. Because I’m in South Eastern Iowa, I’m already second trombone, but I have to go audition for chair placement and whether I’ll be playing solos associated with my part," explained Van Winkle.

"Some student in the orchestra who are in the top part of their section will also receive chamber music and play with the choir. Only the top amount of chairs gets that," added Fillmore.

Although the All-State concert is difficult and requires much preparation, the students are extremely excited and eager for the event.

Participants rehearse in Ames on Nov. 20 and 21, and the Festival Concert will be presented to the public at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, in Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State Center in Ames. 21. Tickets are $20 each (plus fees), and all seats are reserved.

For more information and instructions for ticket purchases, please visit http://www.ihsma.org/document/AS_tickets.pdf.

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