The road to IMEA state

Jasmyne Lawrence, Reporter

This year 11 Pioneers finaled in IMEA All-State, including seniors Rosa Rolon who played trumpet in the All-State Band, and Catie Mussey and Lianna Pfister who both competed in honors choir. Each individual went through the same competition process, but their journeys from District to All-State were unique.

Unlike sports there is not only one band or one choir that competes to be the best in the state. Individual talent and hardwork is what gets you to the top in several different competitions. Students competed in a variety of categories such as Band, Orchestra, Chorus, Jazz Band, and Vocal Jazz Ensemble.

Students put in long hours including outside lessons, balancing school, extracurriculars, social life, and sleep in order to ready themselves for the competition.

“I go look over the music with my private teacher and at least an hour a day of practicing to get ready for the competition,” senior cellist Sam Fansler said.

Making the cut for all state is no easy thing.  Competitors prepare for the vigorous events all year. Taylor received the music for audition one week before they left for state.

“I had to memorize five to six songs in less than a week for this year,” senior Leah Taylor said.

“Months of practicing, couple times during the week I worked with Mrs. Corpus.”

However, the effort each finalist put in for state could not prepare them for what they encountered that morning. On their way to the IMEA state competition, the bus to Peoria with all of the competitors was caught up in a huge traffic jam after a semi tipped over. This pushed back all the finalist to a later audition time as they endured the nerves inside.

“It was really intimidating walking into the room,” Taylor said. “Immediately everyone eyes were on me. I was nervous enough for the day and that added to my anticipation.”

Taylor wasn’t the only one fighting the nerves and waiting hours to audition.

“I got there late then auditioned for honors orchestra third to last and I had to wait over three hours,” Fansler said. “That same night we had practice from 6 pm to 11 pm then the next day 8-11 then 1-3. That’s about eight hours of rehearsal on Saturday.”

This is not the first time competing in IMEA  for many of the participants. Fansler and Taylor both made district their freshman and sophomore year.

“Freshmen/sophomores made district but are not allowed to go to state, only juniors and seniors,” Fansler said.

That rule was eventually changed. This year sophomores were allowed to compete in All State. One sophomore who benefited from the change was band state finalist, Jenny Park.

“It was really cool because they just changed the rule to where sophomores could now make All-State,” Park said.

Though they had a long weekend at State it was worth it to the finalist.  

“My favorite part was watching the different groups perform such as jazz band, jazz choir, the honors band and choir,”  Park said.

All weekend, the students performed with the best musicians in the state and listened to other music departments show off what they worked on.
“State is amazing because everyone is so talented. It is cool to have people around me that shared the same passion,” Taylor said.