44 musicians earn trip to All State Music Festival

By: Hannah Sanderman

At the All State tryouts in the classrooms of Hampton-Dumont High School on Saturday, Oct. 24, 44 CFHS musicians were selected to be apart of this year’s All-State Music Festival in Ames, and among those were seniors Isaac Smith, Mitch Dekutoski and Claire Chenoweth. These individuals have auditioned and been accepted to All-State for all their eligible years. For band and orchestra, that’s four and choir it’s three.

Trumpet player Isaac Smith wasn’t sure if he was going to get in his freshman year. “When I did make it, it was such a cool experience,” Smith said. “It’s such a great feeling to know that all your hard work paid off.”

Being able to play with amazing musicians year after year made Smith continue to audition. “The opportunity to play with such an outstanding group is incredible,” Smith said. “All of the All-State ensembles are absolutely amazing, and I’ve been lucky enough to be in one now four times.”

As for this year, Smith is excited for the people joining him, the music and the concert. “A ton of friends made it, and I think it’s going to be really cool for that reason,” Smith said. “I know more of the people from Cedar Falls than I have in the past. The music is going to be a lot of fun this year, and I’m looking forward to the concert. The concert never disappoints.”

Mitch Dekutoski, who is a bass in choir, said that he’s always been a singer. When he moved to Cedar Falls, his music teacher introduced him to Opus, which lead to trying out for All-State. “I made it [Opus] every year up to ninth grade except seventh grade because that’s when my voice was changing and weird things were happening,” Dekutoski said. “Because of the results from Opus, I was like, hey my voice must be pretty good if I can keep making this, and the next step was All-State.”

Dekutoski said he is looking forward to performing one piece in particular at this year’s All-State. “My favorite piece we’ll be singing is ‘Make Our Garden Grow,’” Dekutoski said. “It’s an operette, so I get to add a little more fullness and maturity to my sound, which normally we don’t because in a choir you have to match everyone’s sound. With this one everyone gets to turn into a little diva and really express themselves.”

Just like Smith, Dekutoski is eager to share his last All-State experience with great people. “I know everybody who’s going down to All-State with me,” Dekutoski said. “This is a great group of kids heading down to Ames, and I’m glad to be headed down with them.”

What has inspired violin player Claire Chenoweth to keep auditioning for All-State is being able to play amazing music and all the music loving people in her life. “It gives me a chance to play some fantastic music, pieces I don’t know if I’d ever get to play otherwise,” Chenoweth said. “It also helps that so many friends and people I love are involved with music. They definitely help give me a motivation to audition.”

With musicians for parents, Chenoweth has always loved music. “I’ve loved music my whole life, but I started playing at 5,” Chenoweth said. “My parents are musicians for a living, so it’s pretty impossible to avoid. I love that I’ve gotten to grow up surrounded by music and musical people.”

Even though Chenoweth does not plan on majoring in music, she wants to continue to play in college. “Playing music is a massive part of who I am, and I don’t want to just let that go after so long,” Chenoweth said. “I want to participate in orchestra and ensembles as a non-major wherever I go.”

Though she is happy to go to Ames, she said everyone involved at the tryouts is a winner.

“I want to make it clear that everyone who tried out is a fantastic musician,” Chenoweth said. “People have this misconception that if you don’t make it, you’re not good enough. An audition is a few minutes long, a few minutes with one single judge. It’s very hard, but you have to try to not let those few minutes and one single verdict ruin what you think of your playing. The fact that you were there and auditioning in the first place says so much about you as a performer. Auditions can really just boil down to luck sometimes.”

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