Six Uni musicians chosen as among best in state
THIS YEAR, six of Uni's 17 all-district musicians were selected by the Illinois Music Educators Association to be all-state musicians.
Sophomore Lucy Zhang (violin), juniors Alex Cahill (string bass), Nicole Gong (voice, soprano), and Daisy Hassani (voice, soprano), and seniors Stephen Buzard (voice, tenor) and Josie Chambers (voice, soprano) were this year's honorees. Buzard and Chambers were named to the honors chorus. Cahill and Buzard are returning all-state musicians.
The students will go to Peoria and participate in a four-day IMEA conference from Jan. 25 to 28. This annual event is filled with seminars, rehearsals, and a culminating concert on Jan. 28, performed by the IMEA all-state chorus and all-state orchestra.
After one to two months of practicing the required IMEA pieces, Uni musicians woke up early on Oct. 10 and went to Bloomington High School to audition.
“The auditions are always kind of fun,” Cahill says. “We get to spend a whole day messing around. But there is also lots of nervousness. I am always nervous for the auditions.”
Gong found out she had been selected from Athletic Director Sally Walker.
“I swear that I just stood there for a few minutes,” Gong says. “I seriously thought she was joking. But when I asked her, she said she wasn't.”
Not surprisingly, the all-state musicians have a passion for what they do.
“I love music!” Chambers says. “I'm always listening to it, whether I'm in my room, doing homework, or riding in the car.”
Zhang also loves music, but playing the violin is merely an extracurricular for her.
“My life doesn't [and] won't revolve around it,” she says.
Singers Buzard, Chambers, Gong, and Hassani all play musical instruments as well. Buzard plays piano, organ, and clarinet, Chambers plays guitar, Gong plays clarinet, and Hassani plays piano.
“Actually, piano is much more of a big deal to me than singing,” Hassani says. “I've been playing piano for as long as I can remember.”
Why do IMEA? Simply put, it's fun. The Uni participants find themselves surrounded by people who enjoy music as much as they do.
“The other musicians are always nice, and many are the same as last year, so I have begun to get to know many of them,” says Cahill.
Zhang first decided to do IMEA last year.
“My friend persuaded me,” she says, “and I thought it would be a good experience. And it was, both this year and last.”