HEHS musicians participate in All-State event


(left to right) Emma Tomita, James Marompon, Niko Otsuka, Jude Maier, Brandy Underwood, Mia Dudlicek, Dominic Luzwick, and Kyla Peyser

Annielle Jolee Capati, Staff Writer

The Illinois Music Education Association(ILMEA) hosts an All-State band, choir, orchestra, instrumental jazz, vocal jazz, as well as honors band, honors choir, and honors orchestra every year. After auditioning virtually, eight HEHS made it to the All-State ensemble.

At the end of January, the students traveled to Peoria for four days to share the love of music they have with over 1200 other students from all over the state. They rehearsed in preparation for the All-State performances held on January 30, 2022 at The Peoria Civic Center.

So how did this experience change these students’ views on music? How were they able to add on to the depth of their understanding of the beauty?

“It’s the emotional value that is as important as the technique that you sing with,” said Brandy Underwood, a junior who auditioned on tenor. “The emotional value you put in is what makes it come alive and what makes it a natural being. One can sing with technique; it’s just there.”

Underwood believes if you sing with emotional value it leaves an impact on how the audience views the performance. Underwood also is committed to bringing that quality to their performances by researching the piece and seeing the context. Kyla Peyser, junior, who auditioned on alto, describes how the experience has opened her eyes and helped her gain a deeper understanding.

“It made me realize how selfless music should be. It’s your job and it’s your duty to sing because the composer needs you to do this,” said Peyser. Peyser shared a quote from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 that has served as inspiration: “And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores.”

“This is describing books and I’ve always felt this about books, but when I was at ILMEA I realized that I can feel this about music,” Peyser said. “I felt like the music that we had there, it had pores and it had features.”

Peyser listens to classical music and tries to learn the stories behind it. “I feel like I’ve never truly looked at the details and like the pores. I like the life per square inch that’s on the page and there was so much life in all the music we did. And I hope we successfully convey that life to the audience and make them feel that too,” Peyser continued.

Dominic Luzwick is a junior who auditioned on bass. He describes the importance of cherishing the moments as he did at state.

“Every single second of every single rehearsal for 5 hours in the long days, everyone was focused and wanted to sing. And when we weren’t singing and were just talking, people wanted to sing even more. And so I feel like we need to try to figure out why we aren’t singing every minute of every class, then we need to eliminate those things because we take it for granted,” said Luzwick. “Now that that weekend is over, it’s kind of crazy that I’ll never sing in that choir again.”

We have to realize that we’re all going to leave at some point and like this year, this is the only year all of us are gonna sing in this choir. And like even for Masterworks, that’s the only time we are going to sing these songs that we’re working on,” he continued.

James Marompon is a senior who auditioned on tenor. He described the trust required within a group to bring them to success as well as bringing out the passion.

“It’s just trusting the people you are with. While working with a group of people that have the same passion and goal as I, we all want to have the best performance we can, so by trusting in the work that everyone has put in, it allows individuals to focus on themselves and their performance,” he said.

Marompon also said everyone gave everything they had every time they sang even through they were often singing for hours and hours and a time.

“But even though it was a lot of singing, our guest conductor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign made every moment fun and engaging,” he said. “She also taught us to live in the moments that we’re given and music isn’t music by just singing the right notes, music comes from within you and I believe these two lessons that she taught us were some of the most important musical lessons I’ll ever learn and I’ll forever hold them in my heart.”

Niko Otsuka is a senior who auditioned for clarinet. She describes the importance of getting better individually and together.

“Through ILMEA I was able to work with other like minded individuals which helped me understand the importance of challenging yourself and surrounding yourself with people who help you become your better self. Although ILMEA was only a weekend long, the preparation behind ILMEA was a lot longer and required determination and a good group of people supporting you,” said Otsuka.

Mia Dudlicek is a senior who auditioned on alto. She describes how the experience and the lessons she learned will stay with her as she heads into college.

“In order to trust others, you need to trust yourself first. In order to feel like you are contributing to the ensemble, you have to believe that you have the same musicality skill needed as everyone else. All-state was a life changing experience and I am excited to bring back what I learned there in Hoffman ensembles and then build on that experience to succeed in college,” said Dudlicek.

Emma Tomita is a junior who auditioned for piccolo. She describes the importance of mistakes and how she realizes that it’s an ensemble’s job to be together.

“On the first day of rehearsal, one of the first things Travis Cross(conductor) said to us was that every person who was in that room was there for a reason and we didn’t have to feel like we had to prove to each other our worth because of our skill and love for music,” said Tomita. “Conductors are there to show the ensemble how to play, not what to play,” said Tomita. “In the beginning I thought he was a bad conductor because I couldn’t follow him but I realized that that was the point and we’re supposed to know our part well enough to play with each other without the conductor telling us where each beat was.”

“It’s not a crime to make a mistake,” Tomita continued. “It’s a crime to keep making that same mistake. At first, success isn’t guaranteed and mistakes and errors happen. It’s how you learn and grow from it that makes you a better musician.”

Jude Maier is a junior who auditioned on bass. He describes the difference of the experience. “It’s crazy to sing with a choir other than your own. That weekend was a different experience to be singing for those rehearsals instead of a 94-minute class,” he said.

It’s apparent that music can connect as many as 1200 students, but there’s so much more someone can learn and apply to life in and out of a musical setting. Other than becoming better musicians, there’s so much more value in an experience like this that can impact someone. Everyone is different. These are just the thoughts of minds that all love music but you see they all have their own views.

Music is a beautiful concept. And what makes it beautiful are the unique, different, interpretations. Support the music department by coming to upcoming performances of the Music Department:

*Wednesday, March 09: Orchestra Concert in the auditorium
*Thursday, March 10: Band Concert in the auditorium
*Tuesday, March 15: Choir Masterworks Concert at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church