RMHS musicians receive ILMEA District honors

Brendan Brady, Entertainment Editor

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Ten students from Rolling Meadows High School’s music department earned All-District honors by the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA).  For All-District Choir, seniors Philip Heck (tenor 1) and Melanie Thoms (soprano 1), juniors Grace Carroll (alto 2), Mike Derango (tenor 2) and Maddie Kerr (alto 2) and sophomore Will Brice (tenor 1) were selected. Seniors violinist Colin Priller and french horn player Kaleigh Roselli were chosen for All-District orchestra. Junior euphonist Dave Kiaupa was selected for the District VII Concert Band, while junior bass player Andrew Vaughan was selected for the District Jazz Band.

The number of RMHS honorees is higher than in recent years, especially from the choir program.

“This is a record since I’ve been here. This is my sixth year, and we had six make it,” Choir Director Caitlyn Walsh said. “This is a high number, and we’re very excited.”

Students from choir, band and orchestra auditioned in early October after months of practice. The audition involves musical scales, sight-reading and the presentation of two preselected pieces. Though the students are given the music at the end of the previous school year, the specific excerpt they must play isn’t revealed until much closer to the audition.

Though most of preparation happens at home, the musicians practice the pieces in class with Buti, Walsh or Orchestra Director Kevin Carroll. The songs are often repurposed for concerts and used in chair placement auditions.

For some instruments, such as french horn, students can choose whether they want to audition for band or orchestra. For Roselli, orchestra was the more appealing choice as it allowed her part to be heard over the other instruments.

“I think orchestra music is a lot more fun,” Roselli said, “There’s less people on a part…[so] you can hear the horns better in orchestra.”

District VII, which includes the Northwest Suburbs and the North Shore, has some of Illinois’ best high school musicians and vocalists, meaning that earning All-District placement is no easy task.

“We live in one of the more competitive districts in the state,” Buti said, “so a lot of times, the District ensembles almost sound better than the all-state.”

Walsh agreed; out of almost 1000 students who audition for District VII Choir each year, only 250 to 300 are selected.

“It’s very competitive,” Walsh said, “Lots of private lessons and top-notch choir programs.”

Getting chosen is especially rewarding for students as they get to perform alongside students unmatched in skill and commitment at the Jazz or Concert Festival.

“Our district, District VII, happens to have a lot of really good and talented people in it,” Kerr said, “I’m really excited to be working with people who really enjoy what they’re doing and are really committed to choir.”

Because of how contested each district ensemble spot is, students often don’t expect to be selected.

“It was a surprise because it was about thirty-something euphoniums for six spots so I wasn’t totally expecting it,” Kiaupa said. “This was my first time trying out so I was just looking for the experience.”


Selected students will perform with their respective ensembles at one of two music festivals organized by the ILMEA. The ILMEA District VII Concert Festival (Band, Choir, and Orchestra) will be held on November 11, 2017 at Glenbrook North High School while the ILMEA District VII Jazz Festival will be held on November 18, 2017 at Woodstock High School. All-state selections will be announced in late November.