Hitting the high note: All-State musical success


Sanjiv Iyer

(From left to right) Sam Mcgrath, Ani Pradeep, Sanjiv Iyer, and Amulya Pillutla pictured with their All-State packets after being accepted into the All-State Band.

Caitlin Crome, Social Media Manager

Obtaining the coveted All-State title for any sport or art is a goal that many hope to achieve. This hope became a reality for 22 of the top singers and musicians at Pleasant Valley.

On Oct. 26, an array of students auditioned for a chance to be involved in November’s All-State Music Festival and to obtain the title of All-State musician. PV was fortunate to have multiple selected for their first, second, or third year.

In the instrumental department, there were eleven students accepted for band and one accepted for orchestra. Senior Sanjiv Iyer was accepted for his talents in playing the clarinet. “Last year I was really surprised when I made it and it felt like I had pressure this year to make it again, but it was exciting nonetheless,” said Iyer.

Going into All-State weekend, there was a lot of preparation. Because Pleasant Valley has a large number of students of students involved in the band program, students must complete a school audition before competing at the state level. 

According to both directors and students, having this opportunity for high school artists is extremely beneficial. Auditioners have the chance to perform in front of judges in preparation for possible auditions in the future.

“I think the process is valuable for musicians because it encourages students to practice and help improve their fundamentals,” said Iyer. “Just like any activity, practice makes us better musicians,” added Iyer. 

All-State annually is highly competitive as students compete with other musicians throughout the state rather than just locally. Students from across the state woke up early and were on the road to Washington, Iowa where auditions took place. 

However, the day is not necessarily over after the audition process. After auditioning, they have downtime until recalls are announced. If a musician is recalled, they must audition another time.

The same process also applies to the choir department. There were a total of 23 students selected from PV with many returners as well as first year acceptances. Senior choir member, John Mendelin, was accepted for the third year in a row. 

Mendelin took it upon himself to get extra practice time to prepare before the All-State process even started. One of his favorites he attended was the All-State camp at Wartburg College in August.

From there he was placed into a quartet. For the next two and a half months they rehearsed every day before or after school. They also had the opportunity to work with Allen Chapman, a highly respected choral All-State clinician.

According to those who audition, All-State is an amazing experience that is a great way to continue to improve your musical skills throughout your high school years. Mendelin said, “It really puts you in charge of your own success, and the elements of collaboration that are encouraged by the quartet audition are so valuable.” 

“I have made lifelong friends singing in small ensembles,” added Mendelin. “I hope to continue making music like this for the rest of my life.”

The Spartan music programs have much to reflect on after a very successful weekend, as well as much to look forward to in the future. But one thing is for sure: they did not end off key.