Nearly 12 hours of music.
For music lovers Hannah Libbey and Madeleine Kline, that’s the definition of a memorable day.
Libbey and Kline, students at Tomah Middle School, took part in the National Band Association, Wisconsin Chapter, All-State Junior Band Jan. 20 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The day began at 9:30 a.m. with practice at Haas Fine Arts Center and ended with a concert that ended around 8:30 p.m.
Despite the long day, they were not tired at the end when the music stopped, Libbey said. She couldn’t stop raving about the day on her way home.
“I was talking about everything with my parents,” she said.
Kline found herself with the same emotions.
“I wouldn’t stop talking about it for days after,” she said.
“I was like (to my parents), ‘Thank you so much for letting me go, it was so fun.’”
Libbey and Kline had two months to prepare. Students got their music in November so they could get ready for performances with students from other schools. They were given time outside of band and class to use a practice room to rehearse their five songs, and they also practiced at home.
It was a lot of work, but it was fun, Kline said.
“We came there early in the morning, and throughout the day we practiced constantly and then we had the sectionals,” Kline said. “It was a long day with a lot of work put into it, but it was definitely all worth it in the end because we sounded really good at the concert; the band sounded nice.”
Katherine Prihoda, TMS band instructor, likes the all-state band, because unlike the state honor band, which is very selective and requires students to audition, this one allows any student to attend based on nominations by teachers. She said it’s a positive experience for the young musicians.
“I like sending kids to this one because it’s the same caliber (as the state) one, but they don’t have to audition but based on the nominations you give them.”
The best part about the program was the instructor, Libbey said, whom she described as very enthusiastic.
Kline agreed. She said the instructor was “really kind” and that she also enjoyed working with students from other schools.
“”It was a really great atmosphere,” she said. “The people around you, the people in the band were really nice and supportive and would help you if you were making a mistake or guide you ... there were some people there that had been doing this for a couple years before and this was both of our first time.”
Kline said she would do it again.
“To anyone who’s very dedicated to band and music, I definitely recommend it,” she said. “You learn a lot there, and it’s a great experience overall. I definitely recommend it.”