Students earn All-State music honors

by Jared DeVries

Two PC students have achieved an impressive musical accomplishment. Freshman Carson Breon has been accepted for All-State Chorus, and Freshman Tessa Brouwer has been accepted for All-State Band as a percussionist. They will perform on November 18 at Iowa State University. “I feel really blessed to have been accepted into All-State,” said Brouwer. “Going in for my audition I never expected to make recalls, but I am extremely excited to be a part of the All-State Band.”

All-State is home to the best of the best of high school singers and instrumentalists. Students practice for nearly 100 hours to prepare themselves for the competition. It is not easy to obtain the highest level of honor for high school musicians.

At PC, eight students auditioned for an instrumental All-State position and five auditioned for All-State choir. Auditions took place on October 21 at Indianola High School for band and chorus. “Making All-State is a huge honor and a reflection of one’s preparation!” said band director Shannon Dykstra.

For the instrumental auditions, students begin practices in the summer learning scales and a solo. Then in mid-August, the required etudes are announced and students begin practicing them. Students will practice for five to six hours a week and even more as audition draw closer, totaling about 100 hours. Dykstra believes this practice is useful to the students in multiple ways. “After 100+ hours of practicing pedagogy, students are well prepared for future auditions such as college scholarship auditions, solo and ensemble, etc,” said Dykstra.

The chorus students also practice often and hard. Along with practices on their own, they will practice three to four days before school as a group. On average, only about one out of five students who audition will be accepted. “Even if students are not selected for an All-State ensemble, they personally have made huge leaps in their technique and abilities,” said choral music teacher Tim Van Voorst. “There is so much musical growth that happens when auditioning for All-State. Students learn challenging repertoire, learn to sing as a small ensemble, and develop their vocal technique.”

Another music honor that is exclusive to freshmen is OPUS. Nathaniel Veenstra was selected for the 9th Grade OPUS Honor Choir. He was one of the 720 students chosen out of over 3000 in grades five through nine who auditioned. He will perform on November 16 in Ames at Iowa State University with 180 other students in the 9th grade Mixed Honor Choir. “I’m just glad I finally get to be in a concert choir,” said Veenstra. “I was in the Pella Children’s Choir but wanted to do something more serious, and I think this was my chance.”

The next big event for the music department will be the Christmas Concert set for December 12.


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