Stevenson students prepare for regional music festival

Namrata Sridhar

After a month of preparation, student musicians from Northeast Illinois will come together on Nov. 7 for the Illinois Music Education Association (IMEA) competition. IMEA is an annual music festival that brings together musicians to be a part of a regional orchestra, band or choir.

Stevenson has participated in the IMEA festival since 1990. Every year, students are selected from band, choir and orchestra to audition for the festival. The audition process is optional for the students.

Should multiple students be interested in the festival, the directors will hold internal pre-screenings to determine the musicians that will proceed to the IMEA auditions due to limits on the number of musicians that can be selected for the festival, choir teacher Alice Nuteson said.

To help them prepare, classes in school will focus on the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in the festival; however, much of the work for the October auditions and November concert is done individually.

“To be selected to be a part of this program is a huge honor,” Nuteson said. “The process is very rigorous from the audition to the performance.”

Eric Kang ’17 was chosen to be a part of the IMEA orchestra as a bassoonist this year. This is Kang’s second year as a bassoonist in the festival. Last year, Kang participated in the senior band, and this year Kang will be performing the first bassoonist part for the senior orchestra ensemble. Kang hopes to continue with IMEA by performing at the All-State festival in January—an opportunity only available for high school juniors and seniors. The concert in January will take the top musicians from the regional orchestra, band or choir and create a state ensemble.

On the day of the concert, the IMEA orchestra will hold rehearsals all day before the festival to fix any minor problems that the ensemble may have.

For Kang, the festival is an opportunity to meet other young musicians and create friendships with students from other schools.

“[The festival] is really cool because you are surrounded by people who care about music as much as you do,” Kang said.