ILMEA goes virtual


Photo used with permission from ILMEA Instagram page

a group of clarinetists play with the United States Marine Band who previously played at the presidential inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20.

Nick Pallotto, News Editor

Seven North music students were selected to participate in the Illinois Music Educator Association’s (ILMEA) first virtual program.

Seniors Halley Berhe, Alexsia Corrigan and Victoria Rusniak along with juniors Blake Barnickel, Sara Przybylski, Ian Curless and Mary Carmen Hernandez-Mora will participate in the virtual festivals throughout the rest of the year.

During a traditional ILMEA music festival, band and choir directors from schools across the state are in attendance. Student musicians perform an entire concert for a live audience.

It is considered a huge honor to be selected to partake in the ILMEA because only a handful of students are accepted.  This year the ILMEA streamlined auditions and required students to submit a video in order not to confuse or overcomplicate the process. 

 “Students have to sing on camera, they have to sing a scale which is a collection of notes and they have to sing a triad which is a collection of three notes,” North choir director Christian Larios said. “In a normal audition, they would have to do sight reading which is when you have to sing a series of notes without ever seeing it before.” 

The ILMEA hosts festivals for every grade level from elementary to high school. Students receive their pieces well in advance to practice. 

“During an ILMEA festival, we usually are given choral pieces ahead of time to practice and prepare for the festival,” Berhe said.  “We spend about half the time rehearsing the songs to prepare for the concert at the end of the festival [and] music teachers from different parts of the state come to direct and conduct the choir every year.” 

The last in-person festival for ILMEA students was hosted at Lockport Township High School in Lockport on Nov. 7, 2020. Students performed a variety of pieces and musicians from schools across Illinois were in attendance. 

The ILMEA conducts programs in which students can become music educators and immerse themselves in the world of music. It can be beneficial for students choosing to pursue music as a career and not just as an extracurricular activity. 

“I have eight students involved with the ILMEA,” Larios said. “The honor is a huge part of it. Being part of it is such an important thing not just for students who are interested in music but for those who want to become future music educators, with that they get an idea of how to become a music teacher.”