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Musical tradition at CCHS continues with four all-state selections

Musical tradition at CCHS continues with four all-state selections
Madison Lincoln, Nathan Shultz, Darian Cleveland and Harper McInroy were all accepted for the Iowa High School Music Association 2019 All-State Music Festival, which is Nov. 21-23. (Press photo James Grob.)
By James Grob,

Thanks to the musical stylings of three seniors and a freshman, the Charles City High School music programs will be well-represented on the state stage later this month.

“It’s always exciting to sing in such a big choir, with that much talent,” said senior Nathan Shultz. “Last year, going through the first warm-up, it was really cool to hear that many voices, that well in tune.”

Senior Madison Lincoln and Shultz will be performing with the 2019 all-state choir, while senior Darian Cleveland and freshman Harper McInroy will be performing in the all-state orchestra. All four were accepted for the Iowa High School Music Association 2019 All-State Music Festival at auditions held in Hampton in October.

“I’m just excited to go and be around 599 other people who love music just as much as I do,” said Lincoln. “I’m looking forward to the experience. I’ve heard only good things about it.”

Lincoln was selected as an alto and Shultz as a bass. Cleveland was selected for string bass while McInroy was selected for viola.

Shultz and Cleveland are all-state veterans, as they both qualified for all-state last year, while Lincoln and McInroy will be making their first trip to the event, which is Nov. 21-23.

“It is very exciting,” said Cleveland, who said she intends to be better prepared for her return trip to all-state. “This year, I have a little better idea of what it’s going to be like and how much I need to practice my music beforehand.”

Schultz said that although he’s excited to be making a return trip, he’s not letting the success spoil him.

“I don’t let it go to my head,” he said. “It’s one day a year, and the goal is just to sound good, the same as the goal is every day here in the music room.”

Only about 17 percent of students who audition are selected to participate in the event, which will include rehearsals in Ames before the ensembles perform at Iowa State University. The all-state music concert is televised annually during Thanksgiving Week on Iowa Public Television.

Auditions are different for the different musical disciplines. Orchestra prepares eight excerpts at auditions, and two are chosen to be played at the festival. For vocalists, the music used to prepare for auditions is the same music they’ll sing at the concert.

The waiting at auditions can be nerve-wracking, according to all the students.

“I just did a lot of pacing,” said Shultz, who said he performed shortly after noon at the auditions in October, but didn’t see the results until after 5 p.m.

Lincoln said she couldn’t breathe when the list of names dropped.

“I saw my name on the list, and I just grabbed my dad and screamed,” she said. “I was very happy.”

As a freshman with no prior experience with the process, McInroy said when she found out she had made all-state, she called her instructor, who started crying and yelling, “I knew it, I knew it!”

“I was shocked when I made it, but I knew I’d had a pretty good audition,” she said. “I was as prepared as I thought I could’ve been.”

McInroy, who has been playing at the high school level in orchestra since the middle of seventh grade, said she feels good about all-state orchestra chair auditions, which happen on Thursday of all-state weekend.

“I feel like I’m prepared for my chair audition, but I also know that everyone else will also be prepared,” she said. “So I’m just going to try and not stress.”

As one freshman among three seniors, McInroy said she’s excited about the experience. Her success has impressed the seniors, who all said that when they were freshmen, they felt “clueless” about all-state.

“These seniors set a good example for the young people who are auditioning,” said CCHS vocal music director Derek Sturtevant. “They can look at how hard they work, they can see how well they prepared. We’ve got a good tradition here.”

Shultz said that that tradition gets passed down at CCHS, from the students he looked up to as an underclassman to the students he encourages now as an upperclassman.

“As a freshman, Harper could easily be a four-time all-stater,” said Shultz. “You don’t see a lot of those., Charles City has had just a handful.”