The All State Choir performing at the University of Maine on May 21 as part of the Maine Music Educators All-State Festival.

By Iris Pope ’23 (reprinted with permission from the Lincoln Academy Talon)

This year, the Maine Music Educators Association held its Band, Orchestra, and Choir All State Festival for student musicians who qualified through audition throughout the state. The festival was held from May 19-21.

To audition, students submitted numerous videos of scales as well as required pieces. Musicians were then selected by a panel of judges.

LA students accepted into the All State Choir were Iris Pope ‘23, Connor McFarland ‘23, Logan Heath ‘22, Kayla Cruz ‘24, Matthew Long ‘23, Ava Nery ‘23, Harrison Pierpan ‘23, and Sophia Scott ‘25. Sage Kosky ‘22 was accepted into the All State Orchestra, and Wyatt Stone ‘23 and Cooper Swartzentruber ‘23 were selected for the All State Band. Upon being accepted, students were given recordings and sheet music to practice in advance for pieces they would work on and perform during the festival.

Hundreds of accepted students attended the festival which was held at the University of Maine Orono. On Thursday, students were greeted at UMO and shown their rooms in the dorms before heading to their separate rehearsal rooms. The schedules for each group were rigorous, with a collective 7-9 hours of rehearsal each day.

One valuable aspect of auditioning for and attending All States is the opportunity students have to work with renowned conductors from across the country. Conductors included Dr. Jeffery Redding for the SATB choir, Dr. Elizabeth Parker for the SSAA choir, Allan McMurray for band, and Ann Danis for orchestra. The ability for young musicians to work with professionals in the music industry is not only inspiring but highly rewarding.

While each day consisted of many rehearsals, students were able to enjoy the lavish offerings of the Hilltop Cafeteria at the University for all meals, complete with an ever-present frozen yogurt machine and stir fry bar. Additionally, activities after dinner on Thursday and Friday night rewarded students for their hard work during the day. Jazz performances on Thursday from the Maine Coast Guard and the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music were met with standing ovations from the young musicians.

On Saturday, May 21, each group performed in the Collins Center for the Arts with over 1,400 seats filled with adoring family members and friends. Choir members were able to see musicians rehearse in the morning before the orchestra and band concert at 11:00am, and choir students rehearsed throughout the day in preparation for their performances at 3:00pm.

After two years of virtual All States due to Covid, students were grateful to return to the normal functioning of this exciting festival.

Iris Pope ‘23 is a member of the Talon Staff and is upset she does not have a frozen yogurt machine in her house. She originally wrote this article for the May, 2022 edition of the LA Talon.