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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Band, choir, orchestra students travel to Peoria for Illinois Music Education Conference

Five+Niles+North+music+students+attended+the+conference.+Junior+Ella+Sorkin+and+senior+Tev+Elmayan+sang+for+the+All-state+choir.+Senior+Becca+Blatt+participated+in+the+Future+Music+Educators+program.+Sophomore+Sarah+Gomez+played+French+horn+for+the+band.+Junior+Benjamin+Fernandez+played+cello+for+the+orchestra.+
Andrew Dahan
Five Niles North music students attended the conference. Junior Ella Sorkin and senior Tev Elmayan sang for the All-state choir. Senior Becca Blatt participated in the Future Music Educators program. Sophomore Sarah Gomez played French horn for the band. Junior Benjamin Fernandez played cello for the orchestra.

On Jan. 24-27, five Niles North musicians and their directors traveled to Peoria for the Illinois Music Education Conference (IMEC). Band, choir, and orchestra students attended the conference for their respective skills. The conference also hosts a program called “Future Music Educators” for those who want to pursue a career in music education. 

The IMEC selects the best high school musicians across the state to participate in the conference. Students received audition material in May and were tested on advanced skills, such as scales and triads, particular to their instrument. The musicians recorded their audition and were selected for the District ensemble, then All-state. The selected All-state students then traveled to Peoria to perform in an ensemble with hundreds of the best musicians in the state. 

Once in Peoria, students sit in three days of rehearsals, starting early in the morning and sometimes going until 10 pm. Musicians have the opportunity to work with conductors from all over the country. Sophomore and French horn player Sarah Gomez learned a lot from working with different conductors. 

Especially when you look at different areas of the state, people have different school experiences, and I think it’s important for our students to get a little bit of view of what that looks like.

— Andrew Dahan, choir director

“[The directors] have different conducting styles, like different ways of running the rehearsal,” Gomez said. “So, it’s interesting to see how a lot of people run the rehearsal and how they manage a band differently than my conductor.”

Choir director Andrew Dahan thinks the experience of meeting musicians from all over Illinois might just be one of the most important things to take away from the conference. 

“[Our students] get to meet all these other people and get to talk to them and get to see what is life like outside of Niles North,” Dahan said. “Especially when you look at different areas of the state, people have different school experiences, and I think it’s important for our students to get a little bit of view of what that looks like.”

It takes extreme talent and hard work to advance to State. Musicians play among the best of the best, and they play with passion. Junior and cellist Benjamin Fernandez reflects on the work ethic that is required to be a part of the conference. 

You really have to love music in order to be there.

— Benjamin Fernandez, junior

“It takes a lot of work,” Fernandez said. “It takes a lot of work and if you’re interested in really going, you have to really practice a lot. It’s a it’s a really big commitment. I’m trying to become a music major and that’s why I really love music. You really have to love music in order to be there.”

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About the Contributor
Penelope Roewe, Managing Editor & Opinion Editor
Penelope is a junior and this is her third year on NSN, serving as Managing Editor and the Opinions and Photos editor. She loves to express her opinions through writing. In her free time, she enjoys listening to music, watching Gilmore Girls, and reading books.

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