On January 29th nine ETHS students attended Peoria for a Band and Orchestra All-State event made up of qualifying students from across Illinois. These musicians qualified through ILMEA, the Illinois Music Educators Association. Six students auditioned in the fall, earned seats in the district organization, and then were selected through another blind audition to play their respective instruments in Peoria, Illinois. Three of the nine students are going to Peoria for their own composition pieces and qualified by submitting their pieces for judging.
“We help our students prepare for their audition to gain entry into these experiences, and then the best students in our district then go down and are selected for the state conference” ETHS Director of Bands Matthew Bufis said.
ETHS has been attending this conference annually for many years. Each year, the best musicians in the district are sent to Peoria for All-State.
“The number of students that are accepted every year fluctuates quite a bit so this is an up year; we have nine students going. In other years we’ve had anywhere between two or three students going, so it just depends on our internal talent level,” Bufis says.
Ryan Tharayil, a senior at ETHS, is going to Peoria this year as a composer and has attended previously. He is a saxophone player who has written compositions that are performed in YAMO.
“So for the composition people, we go to a bunch of workshops and they have different guest artists that they bring in to talk about composition, so everyday is a different workshop and you get some time to get feedback on your stuff and learn some new techniques,” Tharayil explained.
The six instrumentalists attending the conference had a different experience than composers who qualified. Instead of attending workshops, they spent their time in Peoria rehearsing for performances that will take place today and Saturday.
“For the rest of the instruments, once you make it past your district, if you’re at the top of your district, you get to go to state, and then you have to do another audition there for your place,” Tharayil said.
It is an honor and meaningful experience for musicians to attend All-State.
“One of the most valuable materials that this experience has [is] getting feedback, [which] is what helps you improve and think about things that you may not have thought about,” Tharayil said. “I think it’s a really cool experience to be able to make something that other people enjoy.”