Washington hosts All-State Music Festival

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL


On Saturday, Oct. 21, there were over 900 students in Washington to audition for the All-State Music Festival for the southeast district.

The auditions started at 9 a.m. and went until 6:30 p.m., at the high school, said Washington band director Don Hughes. There were 60 to 70 schools from as far as Keokuk all the way up to Clinton who came here to participate in choir, band and orchestra auditions.

The whole school was used for the all-state auditions, Hughes said.

?We had 17 centers,? he said. ?There were six vocal centers, two string, two percussion and nine wind.?

This isn?t the first time the school district has hosted the auditions.

?We used to have it in the past long ago,? Hughes said. ?I think 2000 [or] 2001 was the last time we hosted previously. We had to split into two schools.?

When the new high school opened, the school district was asked by the High School Music Association to host the all-state auditions again.

?The big thing is we?re in the center of the district, so transportation really is not more than an hour and a half for anybody,? Hughes said. ?Fairfield used to host and that could be up to two hours plus for some schools ? having it here where it?s also major roads all the way down until you get close.?

To pull off hosting all-state auditions there were a lot of people who volunteered.

?125-plus volunteers were used throughout the day,? said Washington Middle School band director Craig McClenahan. ?Most of them were were door monitors for the 34 rooms used for warm-ups and auditions. But there were also pitch givers for the vocal rooms, and calculators for the band/orchestra rooms. Another large group of the volunteers worked in the office entering data, posting results, running information to and from the rooms, handing out folders and information, and holding down central station.?

Another large group of volunteers worked the Music Boosters concession stand, headed up by Booster co-president, Diana Flannery, McClenahan added. Washington High School principal Erik Buccholz also directed morning traffic with buses, trailers and other vehicles and also dealt with any emergencies.

Without the volunteers, this event wouldn?t happen.

?Without the volunteers, we would not be hosting this event,? McClenahan said. ?Our facilities and location are nice, but the volunteers are the key to the success.

?It takes a village to run an event like this and we have some of the best villagers in the world. They truly understand this day is for the kids and we appreciate and value every one of our volunteers.

?After the day is done, we survey our volunteers and they let us know what we can do to improve this event for the next year. Each year we get great ideas from them, and this another reason we are successful. ?Thank you? doesn?t say enough.?