At ILMEA, melodies ring, choirs sing, musicians do their thing


Marvelous musicians: Posing for a photo (left to right) North students seniors Abby Rench and Changwoo Yu and South students senior David Lukaszcyk, sophomore Andrew Yang, and juniors Peter Hitzeman and Anthony Tu, unite at the ILMEA state musical festival. Photo courtesy of Peter Hitzeman

Hannah Kahhat, staff writer

The smooth, melodic sounds of musical masters filled the room as the six musicians representing South performed at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) state music festival. From Jan. 26-29, the musicians were in Peoria, Illinois to experience a moment that they will treasure for the rest of their lives, Cody Halberstadt, Fine Arts Instructional Supervisor, explained.

ILMEA presents a series of musical programs for students, such as concerts and conferences, that occur throughout the year. During the fall and winter, students participated in district festivals that eventually culminated into the selection of the All-State Ensembles.

“There were about 700 students in each musical area auditioning from all over Illinois, and from there the top students from band, orchestra, and choir were selected to participate in the All-State Ensembles,” Halberstadt said.

Out of 36 students that auditioned, the six South students that were selected for the All-State Ensemble were seniors Sal Monastero, Joey Rabor, and David Lukaszcyk, juniors Peter Hizteman and Anthony Tu, and sophomore Andrew Yang. The students put forth time and effort over the course of their music careers to have the honor to be selected to All-State, Choir Director Robert Shellard explained.

“They received recognition for their hard work and dedication to their craft,” Shellard said. “A lot of students will audition over multiple years, and over the course of their time in high school, they move further in the audition process.”

Hitzeman, who was selected for the All-State Chorus for the first time, expressed great excitement for this new experience and the chance to be a part of this event.

“It got me out of my comfort zone and taught me new skills that allowed me to grow as a musician and singer,” Hitzeman said.

This was also Yang’s first time in the Honors Chorus, but in previous years he has participated in an ILMEA program for middle schoolers. He is very passionate about choir and encourages others to participate in the program.

The students who were selected into the All-State Ensemble got to meet other students from schools all over the state and receive feedback from professional conductors. It’s a great achievement for students to be able to make it to the All-State Ensemble, Halberstadt explained.

“Over my years as a music educator, I’ve had several students selected and it really is an incredible honor for them to be selected to the Illinois All-State Ensembles,” Halberstadt said. “Students selected to those groups really represent [the school’s Fine Arts department], and it is the pinnacle of musical achievement in Illinois.”