When the first notes of the 56th Annual Iowa All-State Music Festival ring out Saturday evening, two Le Mars Community High School students will be part of a small group of students who have performed at the festival for four years.
Alecia Lubinus will sing in the alto I section of the 600-voice chorus and Matthew Bannerman will be playing first trombone in the 277-piece band at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State University campus in Ames. A 190-piece orchestra is also part of the concert program.
"It is unusual to have students selected for four years," said Curt Ohrlund, band director at LCHS. "Le Mars has been blessed with having several students achieve the honor. It is so unusual, that they announce the names of the students at the concert." "This is a huge feat for a music student," Ohrlund said. "Making it one year is a feat. It's like winning the state championship four years in a row."
While music directors at the school strong encourage students to try out for All-State, the final decision is with the student. "You make make a student want to make All-State," Orhlund said. "This has to be something they want to do. The desire has to be with the student."
Lubinus explains vocal students began working on music in early August with an All-State music camp, and then work on sectionals. Students audition in a quartet, singing the same music that will be sung at the Festival concert. "Once you get it, you don't lose it," she said of the music.
"My whole quartet made it every year," said Lubinus, a feat not often achieved. "It's been a lot of fun," said Lubinus. "I've met a lot of people and had many good experiences. I've learned a lot."
My favorite part has been the preparation and getting to know other people in your quartet," said Lubinus.
The daughter of Daniel and Joy Lubinus, Alecia plans to be involved in music at the college level, but not pursue it as a major.
Bannerman has been busy practicing the music for the band performance, as students receive the music only after they have been selected for the All-State Festival. His audition consisted of playing a solo, as well as major scales and chromatic scales for the judge. "There is only myself, the judge and the timer in the audition room," explained Bannerman.
Students work on solos during the spring, and carry that through to the fall, explained Ohrlund. "There's a lot of material they have to learn." The solo is only about 60 to 90 seconds, Bannerman said. The entire audition takes five minutes. "They strictly adhere to that time," he said.
"It's pretty amazing for me," said Bannerman of his fourth time with the All-State Festival. What are his memorable moments of All-State? "The first one was when I found out as a freshman that I was selected," Bannerman said. "The next was the first concert. It was amazing. And then this year, finding out I made it for the fourth year in a row." Bannerman has been a member of the All-State Band all four years, although auditions for his instrument are held for both band and orchestra.
"I'm very excited," he said. "The ability of everyone to pull a concert of this magnitude together in two days in simply amazing."
Bannerman, the son of Mark and Judy Zeka of Le Mars, plans to attend the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where he will major in music education and trombone performance. The school is affiliated with the Kansas City Conservatory, where he will study.
Le Mars Community High School will have 21 students in the All-State Festival, 16 in the chorus, five in the band and two in the orchestra. The students left this morning (Thursday) for rehearsals. The concert is Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday will be spent with auditions for chair placements within the sections for the instrumentalists, and group practice for chorus members.
The chorus will sing two patriotic selections, "America the Beautiful" with the band and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" with the orchestra.