Music Students Attend KMEA State Convention

Eleven Northwest students attended the annual Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) conference in Wichita Feb. 27 to Mar. 1. Eight band students, two orchestra students and one choir student met with the rest of the all-state ensembles to rehearse for a total of 17 hours and perform for others who attended.The convention was held at the Century II Convention Center, Feb. 27-Mar 1.

“It’s totally unlike any other choir I’ve ever sung in,” senior Ben Huddleston said. “It was a really inspiring experience to be able to come together with that many musicians that are all so talented and to get to work with a little bit more professionalism.”

These students had worked for this conference since the beginning of the school year. Sophomores, juniors and seniors can audition for the district and then all-state level. Through screened, blind auditions, they competed for chairs in a section of an ensemble. District judges are usually the band directors in that area, and all-state auditions are judged typically by professors from around the state. Students that are selected for all-state ensembles were then e-mailed the parts to three pieces, a total of 35 minutes of music.

“Being able to set out a goal, and it be a three-year process, being able to ultimately say that you accomplished something you set out to do and that you’ve become the best you can be as a high-schooler was a dream of mine,” senior Kelly Sharpe said.

Apart from rehearsal, the students were able to visit college exhibits. The last day of convention, the  all-state band, jazz band, choir, and orchestra performed for students in other ensembles, parents, and music educators in the state.

“ playing with people that were complete strangers,” Sharpe said. “It’s so cool because, although you’ve never played with them before, you can make incredible music with them. You’ve never played a note with them and yet you’re perfectly in tune, and you’re perfectly able to communicate.”