Allan and I returned from Peoria last night. This week is All-State for students in Illinois. The IMEA conference is an opportunity for students who excel in music in their schools to go to Peoria and join others from across Illinois in jazz, band, orchestra and choral ensembles. I often think that MYA is like an All-State each week.
It is very nice though that music students are recognized, like school winning athletic teams, by their schools. I think the schools pay for transportation, hotel and sometimes even food for the students who are selected to play in the All-State ensembles.
For many years, MYA has gone to this conference. Allan conducted the All-State Orchestra three years ago. This year the MYA Big Band played at a session. Even without an excuse like this to attend, it is always fun to be there for our students. Will and I counted names MYA student names on the seating results posted on bulletin boards in the Holiday Inn where they were rehearsing. We had at least 3 dozen there this year!
Allan and I arrived on Thursday in time for the Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall where Carl and Will had set up the MYA booth. Allan checked in on the students in rehearsals and we all went out to eat with Patrick Pearson who was there with six of his students from OPRF High School. After dinner we went to the lounge in the Pere Marquette Hotel where the Directors All-Star Big Band was doing a New Music Reading session. We had hoped to hear Chris Madsen's compositions, but they weren't played before the first set ended at 11 pm. Had to call it a night and went to the Hampton Inn - - - the best beds and hotel- - -and got a good night's sleep!
Our Big Band followed a great performance by Mt. Prospect High School's Jazz Band on Friday morning. We share two players, Robby Mack and Robert Osiol. We were so proud of how well Chris and the Big Band's represented MYA!
Allan, Mr. Bassill, Mrs. Reagen and Mr. Pearson attended the ASTA (American String Teachers Association) luncheon where Hans Jensen was honored with the 2010 Artist Teacher Award. We stayed and listened to his talk later in the afternoon on what inspired and guided his teaching --as expected, informative and entertaining. If you’re missing Mr. Jensen at cello classes this year, you might want to know that he has been extremely busy. First semester he also taught at Eastman School of Music, and this semester he is focusing on researching and writing a new cello pedagogy book that he is determined to finish before Northwestern starts up again in the fall.
It's always fun to renew connections with school directors and teachers we have known for years! When Allan finished bumping into and talking to colleagues and friends, we headed back to Chicago.
Today it's back to work and our busy weekend. If you're a parent of younger students and have questions about All-State, ask!