Song of success: Three Muscatine students in All-State Choir

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since August, Muscatine High School choir members senior Parker Ellsworth, senior Matthew Richardson, and junior Alexis Taylor have worked hard to try to earn a spot in this year’s All-State Choir. Independently, the students practiced all of the songs for this year’s All-State Concert, as they would have to perform a surprise portion from some of them as part of the audition process. Though Parker described the auditions as, “very competitive and you never know what you’re going to get out of it,” the three students did well, with Parker and Matthew making the choir and Alexis earning a spot as an alternate.

Since finding out their status as All-State attendees or alternates, all the students have worked hard to perfect their pieces ahead of the festival. Their hard work, both individually and with their choir director, has helped grow both their confidence and excitement ahead of this year’s festival.

All experienced All-State singers, the three students look forward to the opportunity to return to the three day event, which consists of numerous rehearsals and culminates in a joint choir, band, and orchestra concert. “It’s life changing–the first time we all sang together, it was beautiful,” said Alexis of the 2021 All-State Concert.

“I’m very excited,” added Parker. “It’s very exciting to see all your hard work turn into something good.”

Though students welcomed the chance to sing some of their All-State songs during their fall choir concert at Muscatine High School, they look forward even more to getting to sing them on the big stage along with some of the best singers from high schools across Iowa.

Muscatine High School’s All State Choir performers and alternates Parker Ellsworth, Alexis Taylor, and Matthew Richardson. Photo by Margaret Hurlbert.

Matthew shared he most looks forward to, “the experience of getting to sing it with everyone.”

Parker added that he found this year’s music selections particularly inspiring. “It’s very challenging, some of the most challenging that’s been selected for All-State, but once you learn it, it’s fun.”

For Alexis, possibly getting to sing with the All-State Band, which will accompany the choir for at least one piece, represents a highlight. “I’m excited to hear the band,” she shared.

Though this year’s All-State Concert represents the last for Matthew and Parker before they graduate, the music skills they have developed through participating in the event, as well as other choral opportunities at school, has led them to consider continuing their music careers in college and beyond.

“I plan on going into vocal performance,” shared Parker.

Matthew explained, “I definitely plan on making music part of my thing,” as he would like to study vocal music and eventual start a career as a music educator or music therapist.

This year’s All-State Music festival, which include all the All-State Bands, Choirs, and Orchestras as well as the Opus Choirs for younger students, will take place from Nov. 17 through 19, with the concert held on the evening of Nov. 19. Those who cannot travel to the Iowa State University Colosseum to view the concert live can watch a rebroadcast of it on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. on Iowa Public Television.

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