Connecticut All State Music Festival 2019


Mrs. Hobbs

Gabriella Crawford, Campus Reporter

In February, ten Kent School students auditioned for the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) All State Festival. To be accepted to the All State Festival is no easy task, with the process starting all the way back in November with the Northern Regional Auditions. Out of hundreds of students from this region, ten Kent students were accepted into the Regional Festival for orchestra, concert band and choir: Sunny Chen ’22 (clarinet), Kevin Hobbs ’20 (tenor), James Kim ’19 (violin), Siyang Li ’19 (viola), Carly Mitchell ’21 (violin), Julia Park ’21 (flute), Chloe Pfeifer ’21 (alto), Natalie Sun ’20 (viola), Catherine Zhou ’20 (flute), and Matthew Zhou, ’19 (clarinet). The Northern Regional Festival was held in New Britain, CT in January.

The process continued when the ten students auditioned for All-States. Of the ten students that auditioned, six were selected to participate: Kevin Hobbs, James Kim, Siyang Li, Carly Mitchell, Julia Park, and Catherine Zhou. The Connecticut All State festival was held from April 11th to the 13th at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

“When they weren’t eating or sleeping, they were rehearsing,” says Mrs. Hobbs. The students received their music ahead of time and experienced “intensive study [hours] with their directors,” explains Mrs. Hobbs. At the festival, the students performed at extremely high levels with very large ensembles. “The rehearsals were long but it felt different because all of the kids were really there to learn and were already very good,” states Park.

All of the long rehearsals were leading up to the Festival concerts held on the 13th. In these rehearsals, the students played challenging pieces and worked with amazing conductors who brought their experience to the table. During the choir rehearsals, the conductor, Michelle Jensen, skyped the composers of the works they were singing. This gave the students the opportunity to work with the composers of the pieces directly. One of the composers they skyped was Grammy Award Winner, Ben Bram, who composed a piece for the All State Mixed Choir.

When it came to performance day, the students were extremely prepared. They put in the hard work to master their pieces, and these students all have a very high level of musical understanding. When they all came together, “the performance was flawless” says Mrs. Hobbs. The performance had a “big [and] beautiful sound.” All in all, the festival was a great experience for these students and allowed them to bond with talented musicians their age.