Going way back to October, many students from moline in choir, band, and orchestra auditioned to be in the ILMA Senior District groups. They played or sang sections from pieces, sight-reading, and scales. One song to get into the district group, the other to get into the All-State group. A lot of people made it into the district groups from moline, but an exceptional amount made it into All-State. All-State groups are composed of the top performers in each section of the Chorus, Band, and Orchestra, and this year Moline sent 7 students to All-State. They were: Nic Yates (Jr., Chorus), Amira Siddique (Sr., Chorus), Bryn Callahan (Sr., Chorus), Natalie Hansen (Jr., Band), Elise Benson (Jr., Band), Joe Lobb, who also made 2nd Chair for Honors All-State (Sr., Band), and finally Aiden Perry (Jr., Orchestra).
For most of the juniors that attended, it was their first year going to All-State. As for most things you do for the first time, it was pretty scary or intimidating to say the least. Perry described the environment as being surrounded by “prodigies” who were just used to being surrounded by talented people. Just as it was intimidating, it was stressful. But for Hansen, this just meant “[she] will work harder to be a better musician [in the future].” Overall, though, everyone was very excited to be there and to be recognized as a top performer for our district, and to have the privilege to work with the directors, who are “knowledgeable and exciting,” according to Callahan.
Over the recent years, in other areas, students have seen a decline in the importance of fine arts at their schools. Many smaller schools don’t even have the resources at their school to be able to audition for ILMEA. And while it may seem that Moline cares a lot about Music education because of things like the Bartlett Center, many of the All-State musicians hold the opposite opinion. Perry explains that the teachers, Mr. Morton and Mrs. Callahan are the ones to thank for being prepared. He says “I don’t think Moline necessarily cares about our music program… students have had to fundraise on [their] own to help cover costs… the marching band just recently got new uniforms, the first time in over 30 years. New uniforms should be bought after every 10 or so years.” He explains that he is frustrated with the way sports are obviously favored over the music program. Truthfully, our music students are killing it and they have made a lot of achievements that should be recognized. Yates also shares this opinion, saying, “I wish that we got noticed just as much as other extra curriculars.” This year, Yates transferred from Rocky to Moline, and even he has felt underappreciated as a maroon musician. What’s even more disappointing, is that some teachers aren’t supportive of the fine arts program and its students. Hansen explains that she had trouble with some of her teachers when she told them she was going to be gone for practice, or even the days of All-State. Objectively, that shouldn’t be something a teacher should be annoyed about, afterall, it’s the students job to stay on track in class when balancing extracurriculars. Even so, teachers should be the ones paving the way to being prideful of our musicians. They should be excited for students, like they are for sports victories.