Record Number of Students Participate in All-State Music


Photo Credit:Josiah Brandt

Each November, hundreds of skilled musicians congregate within the walls of Hilton Coliseum to showcase their abilities to those statewide. A whopping 16 Pella High students were selected for the All-State band, orchestra and choir ensembles–the most to ever have been chosen from our school to date.

The festival consisted of rehearsals on Thursday and Friday, concluding with a concert Saturday evening.  Part of the festival includes auditioning for specific chair placements within each instrumental or vocal part. Senior Luci Laidlaw was overjoyed to find out that she made the 4th highest chair out of 40 first violins. 

I couldn’t believe it,” said Laidlaw.  “Although I felt really good about my audition, I knew that every single person at All-State was so incredibly talented and that it would be tough for me to get a good seat.” This is Laidlaw’s third time being chosen for  All-State. 

Aleigha Ausman, a member of the All-State choir, loved meeting new people within her section. 

“I was very lucky to sit next to a Baritone and a Tenor 1 who were just as passionate about the other school activities I’m in as I was,” said Ausman. “There was something about openly sharing the very intimate instrument of your voice with others that brought people close together, and I was very lucky to sit next to people that were easy for me to connect with.”

Sophomore Erin Mathes, a two-time All-Stater on clarinet, was happy to experience the Festival for the first time, because last year’s festivities were canceled due to the pandemic. 

“Even though some days were long, it was still an exciting experience that I’m happy I got to take part in,” said Mathes. 

Junior Isaac Boualavong had a great time performing with his peers. 

There were so many students who were all so talented, and it was a lot of fun to perform together,” said Boualavong.

While being named an All-State Musician is the highest honor a student can receive for music in the state of Iowa, many would argue that the real honor comes from celebrating all of the hard work put in to make the festival happen. As Laidlaw stated, “We may be coming together from all sorts of different backgrounds and lifestyles, but when we all come together in Hilton Coliseum, we create something beautiful together as one.”