A&E: All State Music Festival set for next month

By Justin Belliveau

Champlain Valley Union High School

The Vermont All State Music Festival is an event that high school musicians from all over Vermont strive to be in. Thousands of instrumental and choral musicians try out for the festival.

The 86th Annual Vermont All State Music Festival will be held at Mount Mansfield Union High School from May 8-11. The event kicks off with a parade in Winooski on the first day, and those who made it into the Jazz Ensemble start their rehearsals, and perform on May 10. Band, orchestra and chorus start practicing as full ensembles on May 9, and perform on May 11.

Returning All State members like Christopher Jordan and David Kerr found a positive experience in previous years.

“Usually the director gives a good interpretation of the repertoire and the groups are usually well balanced,” Jordan said. A bass trombone player, junior Jordan will be playing with the orchestra for the third year in a row.

“It was so sick!” Kerr remembered with excitement. “I think it will be even more so this year because of how much better I’ve become.”

Kerr is a junior who plays baritone saxophone. He was in the Jazz Ensemble two years ago, and will be back this year.

Newcomers like Sean Yarolin and Jack Dilley hope for a similar experience.

“I hope it will be like Districts, only better,” Yarolin, a sophomore bass clarinetist, said.

“I’m sure it will be great,” said Dilley, a freshman and snare percussionist.

“There are a number of reasons why one would want to audition for All States,” Andrew Miskavage, CVU’s band teacher, said. “For some it’s the opportunity to be in a larger ensemble; for others the student could just have a burning passion for music.”

Two to three adjudicators score students in band and orchestra auditions. The student must prepare a solo piece, which is chosen by the Vermont Music Educators Association a few months prior to audition time, and varies by instrument. The student is asked to play two major scales and one chromatic scale, and will also sight-read a small passage of music. The student’s entire audition is scored out of 140 points.

Jazz auditions are a bit more complex. While still asked to sight-read a small passage, and still scored out of 140 points, the student must improvise based on the given chords on a solo piece. To make this less nerve-wracking, the student will have a rhythm section (piano, bass, guitar, drums) playing with them.

For many students, this is a highlight of their music career because “[they] are recognized as some of the best musicians in Vermont.”

“One of the things I take great pride in is the fact that CVU is one of the largest representatives for All States,” Miskavage continued. “But that’s only for band students. I don’t keep track of strings or chorus.”

“Several of my colleagues have very strong programs, therefore they get many kids into All States,” Carl Recchia, CVU’s chorus teacher, said. “We average about fifteen singers every year.”

This year, CVU will have 31 students representing the school and the band and chorus program. And for full disclosure, this reporter plays the tenor trombone and will be participating in this year’s festival in the orchestra.


Participating musicians

  • Katie Bedell (Junior, chorus)
  • Justin Belliveau (band, tenor trombone)
  • Seamus Buxton (Junior, chorus)
  • Sarah Caffry (Senior, chorus)
  • Quincy Chandler (Senior, band, trumpet)
  • Delan Chen (Sophomore, band, clarinet)
  • Thomas Clayton (Junior, band, trumpet)
  • Evan Cohen (Senior, chorus)
  • Arianna Davis (Sophomore, chorus)
  • Jack Dilley (Freshman, band, snare percussion)
  • Stephen Donahue (Sophomore, band, clarinet)
  • Chelsea Huber (Senior, chorus)
  • Christopher Jordan (Junior, orchestra, bass trombone)
  • Jacob Kahn (Freshman, band, trumpet)
  • David Kerr (Junior, jazz, baritone saxophone)
  • Colin Kimball (Senior, band, clarinet)
  • Robyn Leary (Junior, orchestra, flute)
  • Noah Marconi (Senior, orchestra, violoncello)
  • Cole Marino (Sophomore, chorus)
  • William McSalis (Senior, chorus)
  • Eileen O’Grady (Junior, orchestra, violin)
  • Colin Snyder (Sophomore, orchestra, viola)
  • David Tamas-Parris (Junior, band, snare percussion)
  • Noa Urbaitel (Sophomore, chorus, not attending because she will be in Israel)
  • Delphine Vandal (Sophomore, chorus)
  • Jean-Julien Vandal (Senior, jazz, tenor saxophone)
  • Graeme Waples (Freshman, orchestra, violoncello)
  • Alexandra Weimer (Sophomore, band, alto saxophone)
  • Zackery Weimer (Junior, band, alto saxophone)
  • Sarah Winget (Sophomore, band, oboe)
  • Sean Yarolin (Sophomore, band, bass clarinet)