Music students shine at All-State convention



Alongside students and other musicians, Jamie Groves, band director, participates at the All-State music convention in Tampa, FL. Groves assisted as a chaperone for students. “My favorite part of All-State is definitely seeing the students grow over a short period of time and collaborating with colleagues from all over the state,” Groves said.

Forty-seven band, vocal, and orchestra students attended the All-State convention in Tampa, FL from Jan. 13 to 16.
Although the convention itself was in January, students were preparing since last May. Teachers assisted students in this process.
“All-State students submitted a mock audition on Google Classroom, (scales, lyrical etude, technical etude) and I listened to each audition one by one,” Jamie Groves, band director, said.
In the place of a traditional audition, students played for a recording machine instead of a judge. After auditions, students waited for the results.
Susan Skatoff, parent of two students that attended All-State, said, “I’m not sure what is more stressful, preparing for the audition, or waiting to find out whether or not you were accepted.”
Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA) ensured that COVID-19 procedures were in place.
“I felt COVID safe when at All-State. I wore a mask and other students around me did as well,” Colin Gallogly, eighth grade band major said.
Even with all of the safety procedures, this year’s in-person All-State was an entirely different experience than last year’s.
“Last year was completely virtual, and I didn’t even leave my home. It was a lot more fun [this year] and felt a lot more like a real All-State experience,” Gallogly said.
After their arrival in Tampa, there was another audition for placement within the sections. These positions are called “chairs”. Regardless of chair, each participant at All-State spent time with the other students in their section.
“My favorite part of all-state is being able to meet a bunch of great people that also play your instrument. You feel like a family in your own section,” Gallogly said.
After two days of rehearsals, musicians of all different levels gathered for the final concert. Many parents of the musicians attended this performance.
“It’s both humbling and inspiring to see so many other talented kids, and you realize that your child is a part of something really special,” Skatoff said.
For the musicians, the final concert was something that defined the All-State experience because it brought to a close a weekend of excitement, education, and passion.
“All-State is an experience that I would recommend to all musicians, regardless of skill level,” Gallogly said. “Just audition, because it is amazing to go.”