MHS students selected for 2020 All-State program

Danae Milbrandt

Being selected to participate in Minnesota’s All-State program is no small feat, and this year Montevideo Senior High is honored to have five of its musicians selected to participate in the prestigious program.

In March, students who participate in bands and choirs across Minnesota audition for All-State, where judges listen to and evaluate them on their musicianship and technique.

Of the five students selected to participate, one of them was selected for All-State Band. Lauren Hanna is a sophomore at Montevideo Senior High, and this is her first year being selected for All-State. Hanna plays trombone and participates in Concert Band, Jazz 1, brass quintet, and was a part of the pit band that was set to perform for the Addams Family Musical, that has since been canceled. She is also active in the high school choir program as well.

“She is very active in the music department outside of ensembles as well, and accompanies the choirs and her fellow classmates for solo/ensemble contest,” said MHS Band Director Oliver Leafblad. “As well as always willing to help Mr. Hampton and I with whatever we need in the music department.”

According to Leafblad, being selected to participate in Minnesota’s All-State program is a huge accomplishment for any young musician.

“Minnesota consistently has some of the highest performing All-State ensembles in the country. Most students start working on the audition material during the summer, or right as school starts in the fall with the audition recordings being submitted about the second week of March,” said Leafblad.

Those selected to participate in Minnesota’s All-State Choir include: Daisy Akiuo, a junior of MHS selected as Soprano-Alto, this being her second year chosen, and Rose O’Malley, also a junior and selected as Soprano-Alto. This is her first year with All-State.

Alternates are also selected to fill in positions that may open up after auditions, and this year’s alternates include Abby Abrahamson, a junior and Alto 2, and Brock Stamper, a junior and Bass 1.

Typically, the students selected to participate in the program attend a summer camp in August where they meet their guest conductor and attend rehearsals and sectionals before meeting again in February to perform in Orchestra Hall as part of the MMEA (Minnesota Music Educators Association) Midwinter Clinic. However, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the camp will not happen this summer as was previously planned.

According to MHS Choir Director and MMEA board member Dan Hampton, MMEA leaders are currently reviewing upcoming programs to ensure safety of students and staff. He stated that given continued uncertainty, they made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 All-State camps.

At this time, they are tentatively looking at All-State plans that could include days in February of 2021, but are unable to say which dates will be included as of now.

“I am really proud of all of the many students who tried out for All-State choir this year because it is quite a lot of work to take on,” said Hampton. “All-State has been a real pinnacle for past Montevideo musicians so I am excited that we will have some students who will have an opportunity to be a part of this great event.”