Montana’s finest musicians

By Lena Kennel and Alissa Schell

This October, Alissa Schell had the amazing opportunity to play alongside the state’s finest young musicians in Montana’s All-State Band. Back in June, she sent in a recorded audition and in late August received the exciting news that she was one of the 15 flute players across the state that was accepted. This was a great honor, as 100 of the 116 All-State band members came from class AA schools. After receiving the challenging music in September, Alissa spent the entire next month learning and practicing it in preparation. On Oct. 16, she traveled to Billings for chair placement auditions and sectionals that evening. The next morning, the full band rehearsals began. Aside from a few breaks, the group spent nearly every waking hour of the next two days rehearsing and perfecting the music. On Thursday night, however, the groups had a break from their intensive practice to attend the All-State host night concert. This year, the concert consisted of two men’s a capella groups, “Sound of the Rockies” and “Storm Front”. After yet another day of rigorous rehearsals, the All-State Choir, Orchestra, and Band presented their annual concert that Friday night. The choir, conducted by Dr. Mark Wilberg, performed first, followed by the orchestra, directed by Dr. Michael Griffith. The band concluded the concert, and was conducted by world-renowned director Dr. Peter Loel Boonshaft, Professor of Music at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The band’s stunning performance was an outstanding end to the concert, receiving a standing ovation from the audience. Alissa remarked, “It was an amazing experience! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work with such amazing musicians!”


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