Three PC musicians earn All-State honors

by Piper King/

Three PC students, sophomore Nia Hoekstra, junior Carson Breon, and senior Braden Meinders made their way to All-State this year, a music festival consisting of 601 choir students, 276 band students, and 183 orchestra students. All-State took place on Nov. 23 in Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State. 

This year was Meinders’ first year making it to All-State. “It was really cool. My favorite parts were singing in the C.Y. Stephens Auditorium with hundreds of other talented singers,” he said.  

Hoekstra earned first chair in her section for band. “As something I have worked for so long, just being at All-State was more than enough, but first chair was a cherry on top,” said Hoekstra.  

The tedious process of making All-State had all three students on the edge of their seats. “The most challenging part (of All-State auditions) is having to deal with the anxiety of the wait. We wait around for about four hours just to see if we made it,” said Breon. 

For Meinders, getting up for the early morning practices was a challenge. With all difficulties aside, the three musicians have a few strengths up their sleeves. “We all knew the music so well. We knew what we were doing,” stated Breon. 

The students all had different reasons for deciding to audition. “Ever since I picked up a bass clarinet, I was drawn in. I’ve always been very dedicated to things, so I started practicing,” said Hoekstra. 

Others wanted to audition for the educational aspects. “For me, it was just an incredible learning experience. You grow a lot in the process. The hope of making the All-State choir was enough to do it,” stated Meinders. 

Making All-State required a lot of hard work and practice for both band and choir. “We practiced almost every morning for the whole school year up until October 26. Even before the year started, everybody knew the notes and rhythms,” said Breon.

 “I practiced as much as possible, often in a separate room during band. I would say that I practiced 5-6 days a week at home,” stated Hoekstra. 

The constant practice has given the students a lot of courage. The vocalists both felt as if they were ready. “The practice gives you a certain type of security. The only room for error was being nervous,” said Breon. “It’s a really cool experience getting to perform with hundreds of other talented musicians. Even if you don’t make it, you still learn a lot in the process.”


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