Exploiting the health and safety precautions of All-State auditions


Deb McGrath

The 2019 All-State band before their performance in the Hilton Coliseum on the Iowa State Campus. Most members have been preparing for this moment for more than six months. However, with this year’s auditions being online many are concerned that audio quality and technology of recording devices may be the deciding factor to get to this moment.

Sam McGrath, Business Manager

Exploiting the pandemic precautions to cheat past all-state band auditions has become a serious concern for the Pleasant Valley band and the Iowa High School Band Association (IHSBA). Both students and teachers are questioning the level playing field among students. 

IHSBA has been active in trying to create a process that will require integrity and create a fair process for every student. As of right now, students must record their audition with a clock in the background and no school symbols or apparel in the recording. 

It’s unlikely that there will be guidelines for the location of the audition, so many students are concerned about the advantage that some might get for recording at a professional studio opposed to at home. Recording an audition has an extreme advantage over one that would be done at home. The tone and other specific qualities that judges will be assessing will be noticeably different. 

The band directors at Pleasant Valley are currently thinking about setting up recording times for students. Tara Daurer, one of those directors, stated, “We’ve discussed it, we don’t have it finalized.” Daurer went on to say that they are working to create a process with flexible times to best suit the students’ needs. 

Erika Holmberg, a junior at Pleasant Valley and a drum major for the marching band, decided to switch from choir to band this year for All-State. Holmberg, concerned with the recording process, said, “Allowing multiple takes in the comfort of your own school or building now takes out a large aspect of performing under pressure.” 

Holmberg, along with many students, directors and parents, is very pleased with the IHSBA for giving the students the opportunity to gain the experience of auditioning for All-State. She stated, “I’m very grateful that our state was able to find a safe way to still hold these auditions.”

Overall, Daurer believes the IHSBA has handled this very well. They have been communicating frequently with the directors and posting a lot of information on their website. She believes that with all of the issues going on right now, they are trying their best to give students the experience of auditioning.

While there are many changes being brought about the auditioning process, students, teachers and parents are still appreciative of the opportunity.