State festivals celebrate fine arts

Senior Corinne Heidloff goes to Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) state competition. Senior Leah Minsky and junior Tori Whaples participate in the All-State theater.


Daniel Laubhan

Heidloff and Whaples walk and smile during the state sendoff before Heidloff goes to ILMEA.

Jordan Fliegelman, Staff Reporter

     Senior Corinne Heidloff, placed 8th out of 16 french horn competitors at the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) state competition. Her placement earned her a spot in the Honors Orchestra. The festival was from Jan. 30 to Feb 1.

According to the ILMEA, they exist to “advocate for universal access to comprehensive music education”. ILMEA is the largest institute of the fine arts in Illinois.

Band director Dom Bertino explains that “students initially audition for what we call districts. The state is divided into nine districts for music and auditions are in October. If a student’s audition’s scores are high enough, they are placed into their district band, choir or orchestra. The selected students attend district day where they practice for the day and perform a concert that evening in November. After the District Festival, scores are compiled from each of the nine state districts and All-State groups are formed from all of the best musicians in the state.”

     Heidloff, who plays the french horn, has been playing since she was five years old. When preparing for ILMEA, she practiced “starting over the summer, and then all the way through October and practiced it [even more] so it’s a lot of work into achieving the goal.” Heidloff said.

Senior Leah Minsky and junior Tori Whaples auditioned and interviewed for the Illinois High School Theatre Festival All-State show, which is the largest and the oldest non-competitive high school theatre festival. Over 4,000 students, teachers, and volunteers, “come together to perform over 25 different high school theatre productions and work on over 150 workshops” according to the Illinois Theatre Fest. Minsky and Whaples performed at the 2020 All-State show at Illinois State University on Jan. 9-11.

     Junior Tori Whaples explained that in All-State “about 400 kids audition each year, and these are some talented kids! You have to be able to do it all, and by that I mean singing, dancing and acting,” said Whaples.

Assistant theater director Lauren Tracy values the experience that students have at the Illinois Theatre Festival.

Tracy explains that, “It’s great to see students from Encore! representing us at All-State. It’s always fun to see and hear their stories of people that they met and other students they got to connect to and build those relationships with.”