Band and choir students go to All-State

Matthew Rubenstein, Online Editor

Three days of practice, of rehearsal, of learning, of music. This year, four individuals from Liberty High School have auditioned and been selected to participate in the All-State Band and All-Northwest Choir. Two oboists, freshman Chelsea Hu and sophomore Samantha Sieler, will travel to Portland, Oregon on February 14 for All-State.
All-State Band and All-Northwest Choir consists of three days of rehearsing music with the top musicians in the state capped off by a concert at the end. Going to All-State is a very special opportunity, as only a select amount of musicians get into the All-State Program.
“It’s something I’ve never done before, so I was really excited to try this year, and to see if I even got in,” Hu said.
Both Hu and Sieler play in Liberty’s Wind Ensemble, an audition-only band. But they both want to go beyond what Liberty’s band offers and improve their musical résumé.
“I’m hoping to get a new understanding of music and how to play it, and meet new people that also play my instrument,” Sieler said.
All-State isn’t just something to put on a college résumé, however; the event provides a big opportunity for musicians to improve.
“Sam and Chelsea will be in a place where they’re more like a little fish in a big pond. You improve a lot when you play in those situations, when you’re maybe not the best person in the room anymore,” Liberty band director Jared Tanner said.
Meanwhile, two singers, junior Kyler Granados and sophomore Madeline Wood, will also travel to Portland, but for All-Northwest Choir.
“I’m really excited. I met a lot of nice people last year who share the same joy for singing and music that I do,” Madeline Wood said.
Normally, Liberty will send up to 10 kids to All-State and All-Northwest, but this year the number is much lower because of the event’s proximity to choir’s Carnegie Hall concert.
“We had kids opt out and decide that this was just not the year; there’s just too much stuff going on,” choir director Robin Wood said.
However, Mrs. Wood still expects that the knowledge that Granados and Wood return with from All-Northwest will elevate Liberty’s choir.
“When Kyler and Madeline come back, what they have learned, the way that they are able to translate all of the information into the way they interact with the rest of the choir raises the bar for the rest of the choir,” Mrs. Wood said.
At places like All-State and All-Northwest, musicians that might never have met each other congregate in one place solely for music.
“It’s a great musician community building experience. It’s pretty cool to be a part of the greater musician community,” Tanner said.
“You get to meet new people and sometimes make lifelong friendships, you know? They always say ‘you might meet your best friend for life here.’ It’s kind of a cliché thing that the directors say, but it’s always really fun. It’s always an enjoyable, enlightening experience,” Granados said.