S.H.S. students participate in ILMEA state


  The annual ILMEA state festival brings together the best high school musicians in the state for a one-of-a-kind experience. ILMEA is the Illinois Music Education Association, and they offer a district festival experience for elementary through high school students in Illinois.

 This includes general music events, band, jazz, orchestra, and choir. For district and state, there are levels to audition for, which is the grade level students are currently in. To make it to district students need to be nominated by a music program at the student’s school. Then students must get the music, which the judges choose, record themselves and send the video to the judges. This process is the same for All-State.  

  This year, Sterling High School had many students qualify for districts and also state, which is held in Peoria. 

 For district ILMEA students Olivia Barton, Ava Cassens, Phelix Cervantez, Alex Finn, Olivia Marruffo, Chavela Quintana, Ocean Ramirez, Rileigh Wren, Catilyn Dacidson, Gavin Fischer, Christian Garza, Anna Hutchison, Jacob Brown, Israel Grande, Rowan McNeill, Kyle Knutsen, Avery Moran, Henry Oberg, Kiara Olinger, Kaidence Stroup, Cole Stumpenhorst, and Morelia Vargas were chosen. 

 The group of students who progressed to All-State were Ava Cassens for band, Christian Garza, Kyle Knutsen, and Morelia Vargas for Chorus. Students Gavin Fischer, Anna Hutchison, Henry Oberg, Kiara Olinger, Emma Stroup, and Cole Stumpenhorst made it to the Honors Chorus and students Jacob Brown and Israel Grande made it to All-State for Orchestra.  

  For the ILMEA district, senior Emma Stroup worked diligently to learn the music and prepare to submit her audition. Stroup stated, “Once you make it into the district, you go to a day-long event which ends with the district concert.” 

  If students made it to district, they can be considered for ILMEA State Chorus, Band, or Orchestra. Stroup is one of the students who had made it into the ILMEA State Honors Chorus. She is currently working on the different pieces that she has received which includes a song in Greek, a song in Latin, as well as a few other advanced pieces. Stroup states that it is “an incredible experience and I’ve had a lot of fun with this so far.” Choir director Weston Henry’s assistance has been essential to preparing for the experience 

    A lot of students are unsure of how to join ILMEA, or how to know when it is coming up. Senior Israel Grande stated, “Any musician should audition for ILMEA. It pushes you to work harder than the high school level.” 

  In order to audition, students need to know how to read music and how to mix in their own twist to the music, but wanting to still keep the song the way the composer wrote it. As the events approach, students will start recording and sending in their auditions. It could be weeks before students find out whether they get in or not. 

    For others, such as sophomore Rileigh Wren, they went for the more instrumental side of ILMEA. This was her first year, and she describes the experience as “one of the most amazing and interesting experiences that I have ever had.” 

  As a saxophonist, this experience made Wren realize that there are more opportunities out there other than S.H.S. Marching and concert band. What made Wren work harder was that her section she was in was a very competitive group of people. “I’m not usually put up against this particular type of competition on a daily basis,” stated Wren, keeping herself occupied by her instrument. 

  The ILMEA events truly provide a meaningful and competitive experience for our talented S.H.S. musicians.