With the official announcement of the Addison trail musicians making it into ILMEA, both teachers and students alike are ecstatic that they are receiving this opportunity.
Junior Adam Sakleh says, “I was very surprised to see that I got in and was in disbelief for a moment. I was proud of myself and excited to see what was to come.”
ILMEA stands for the “Illinois Music Education Association.” Band Director Mark Corey explained, “This is a state-wide organization of music educators which exists to advocate for universal access to comprehensive music education; deliver exemplary professional development for educators; and provide exceptional musical experiences for all Illinois learners facilitated by licensed music educators.
This year, 5 students were accepted into 6 different ensembles. Senior Elizabeth Bernar, senior Emily Stevenson, and junior Adam Sakleh are all in the Senior Chorus; junior Madelyn Ford is a part of the Senior Orchestra; and junior John Pinns has been accepted into both the Senior Jazz Band II and the Senior Band.
Music educator Rebecca Boisse said, “Our students who made the district ensembles have all worked very hard over the last few years to grow as musicians, and while they will not be performing, this is still a great accomplishment and we in the AT Music Department are so proud of them!”
To qualify for ILMEA, students need to audition in October. The state is divided into districts, and each district holds an auditioned festival concert every fall. Then, the top students from each district are invited to perform in All-State ensembles at the Illinois Music Education Conference in January.
Nearly 3,000 students from 60 high schools audition every year in District 9 alone for placement in the All-District Band, Chorus, Jazz Choir, Jazz Ensemble, and Orchestra. AT has hosted the auditions for senior high school students in District 9 for more than 15 consecutive years. Because of Covid-19 though, auditions needed to be altered this fall.
Mr. Corey said, “I was fine with not hosting auditions at ATHS. Health and safety needs to be our number one priority and ILMEA made the right choice in going forward with virtual auditions. We were disappointed that there would be no auditions as this event is a big fundraiser for our boosters who feed the judges and the students throughout the night, but we expect that ATHS will once again host auditions in the fall of 2021.”
The modified process required students to submit a video audition via YouTube for the judges to score and rank. Based on the ranking, students were invited to All-District Festival clinics being held on Zoom this past Saturday, Nov. 21. These masterclasses were run by professional educators and musicians.
There were pros and cons to the remote ILMEA festival this year. Senior Elizabeth Bernar said, “I think it was easier to do it online because you don’t need to be worried about an audience watching you.”
On the negative side, Bernar said, “ I do wish that I got the real ILMEA experience, though. I wanted to be able to have fun at the festivals and meet new people.
The next step after the ILMEA All-District ensemble is All-State. Decisions on how exactly All-State will be run have not yet been made, but one can assume it will either be similar to the district festivals with recorded music or delayed until the spring.