By Lorrie Ham
Following a highly competitive audition process last spring, four Mound Westonka High School musicians were selected for prestigious All State music groups. All four participated in summer camps the first week of August and will take part in a mid-winter clinic in February.
Senior Elle Montgomery was selected for the All State Women’s Choir and juniors Hogan Ryan and Matthew Sheehan were chosen for the All State Men’s Choir. Both choirs rehearsed and performed at a summer camp at St. John’s University, Collegeville.
Junior percussionist Nick Battis was chosen to represent the MWHS Symphonic Band in the All State Orchestra. His week-long camp was held at Concordia College in Moorhead in August.
"This recognition is much-deserved, as Nick has been a leader in Westonka schools for a long time,” said Band Director Gretchen Chilson. “I'm so excited that he has this opportunity to play with this high caliber of players from around the state, and be an ambassador for us about the great things happening in our own band program!"
The All State program, sponsored by the Minnesota Music Educators Association, attracts auditions each spring from over 2,000 musicians statewide, who audition for a spot in the one of the All State performing groups. Less than 600 students are chosen to participate. Those students who are selected through the audition process perform with other talented students from across Minnesota in a camp setting. All-State is an intensive musical program for some of the very best musicians in Minnesota's high schools.
Ryan appreciated the opportunity to meet and perform with fellow musicians at the summer camp. Sheehan echoed that thought and added that he met many new friends. Montgomery liked making new friends and learning new things. She also enjoyed the food.
For Battis, playing with an orchestra was a new experience. He enjoyed learning new techniques and performing with some great musicians.
“It's a great year for All State!” said Choir Director Kate Larson. “All of these students are very deserving of this honor.”