42 musicians earn trip to All State

By: Clare Rolinger

Stomachs twisting into knots, the students incessantly shush one another as the platform slowly shutters the up the wall. The woman standing on the platform holds a tightly wound scroll in her hand. She stretches up onto her toes and pins the scroll to the wall, its contents still hidden from the ever anxious audience. Then, promptly stepping away, she lowers the platform, and the scroll drops.

Screams fill the gym. Students cry and hug and jump and laugh. Some rejoice, others mourn, but mostly, people just stare at the list on the wall.

Gradually, as people calm down, return to their card games and go back to warming up their instruments, the hectic hum of the gym is restored.

And then, maybe 30 minutes later, the woman returns with yet another scroll, and the incessant shushing begins once more.

This is what countless high school students experienced last Saturday, Oct. 22 at All State auditions in Hampton-Dumont.

The All State music festival is a concert in Ames that showcases some of the best musicians in Iowa. If accepted, students get to perform under the direction of nationally or internationally renowned conductors. High schoolers from across the state spend months in preparation for audition day in hopes of getting into the elite program later in November.

Out of all of the students that auditioned, 42 were accepted from Cedar Falls.

Band director Gerald Ramsey said the results on Saturday come from a lot of hard work put into preparing for this treasured experience. “I think some people would have the misconception that All State is something that you get ready for in August, but it’s a lifelong thing,” he said. “All State is an event that recognizes the students that have developed their talent over the years, and an opportunity for those kids to showcase those talents.”

In fact, junior Gina Mueterthies, who was accepted on trumpet this past Saturday, spent close to two hours every day practicing her instrument in preparation for auditions. She started playing her trumpet in fifth grade.

A second year All Stater, Mueterthies has a hard time explaining the joy she felt when she saw her name on the accepted list.

“I just felt so relieved. Because all of the stress builds up, and you’ve been waiting since July or August for that day to come, and it’s finally over, and yeah, it just felt really good,” Mueterthies said.

While Mueterthies had already seen her name on the wall in years past, for sophomore Willa Eacret, it was an entirely new feeling. Eacret auditioned in a quartet as a Soprano II.

“When I saw my name, at first I was kind of in shock, and then I saw all of my friends, and they were congratulating me, and my mom was there, and it was just such a great moment,” Eacret said smiling. “I’m just so honored to be able to go.”

While not everyone will get the opportunity to go to the festival in November, choir director Eliott Kranz said he’s proud of all his students. “I think it’s awesome. I think it goes to show that students can do things on their own, and they don’t always need me for help,” Kranz said.

Riding home on the bus, the knots in the stomachs of the Allstate students loosen and are instead replaced with butterflies. The incessant shushing and hum of the gym is left far behind them, and a musical opportunity is what now lies ahead.

 

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