MMEA All-State: Minnesota's finest symphonic band

March 1, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota has one of the oldest and most substantial All-State Ensemble Programs in the country. Since 1944, Minnesota Music Educators Association has been developing the finest musicians and leaders among Minnesota's most accomplished high school students. This year, Classical MPR is broadcasting and streaming highlights from the MMEA All-State ensembles.

Tune in during the 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. hours on March 1: Symphonic Band, under the direction of Takayoshi Suzuki, recorded August, 2012.

As an institution, MMEA works to ensure high-quality music education for every student in Minnesota. This is achieved through professional development for music educators, advocacy for music and the arts in schools and festivals and honors ensembles for students in school music programs. The All-State ensembles gives high school students the chance to experience a formal audition and an intensive music experience in the form of camp in August and then performances in August and February at MMEA convention.

Notable leaders of past MMEA all-state ensembles include Antal Dorati, Weston Noble, Dale Warland, Miles ("Mity") Johnson, Paul Christiansen, Frank Bencriscutto, Henry Charles Smith and others.

The selection process:

School music teachers or private teachers first nominate a student. Judges travel to 18 locations around the state to hear auditions of solos, etudes, scales, sightreading and other skills. Finally, MMEA leadership comes together on "Draft Day" to select student musicians.

Selected students attend a one-week long summer camp, during which they rehearse in their respective ensemble. Experts on each instrument or voice type work with students in sectionals, and provide individual instruction on advanced methods. Included in the camp, MMEA provides seminars for students on topics from music careers to college admissions and auditions and music in adult life.

These recordings represent the best of our Minnesota school music programs. Listen for yourself and find out what amazing talent these students bring to this performance.

Tune-in all week during the 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. hours for new performances from the All-State ensembles

February 25: Orchestra, under the direction of Amir Kats

7 a.m. hour: Emmanuel Chabrier — Espana, Rhapsody
6 p.m. hour: Jennifer Higdon — blue cathedral
Web feature: Dmitri Shostakovich — Symphony No. 5 movement II. Allegretto

February 26: Mixed Choir, under the direction of Rollo Dilworth

7 a.m. hour: Carol Barnett — Webster
7 p.m. hour: Eleanor Daley — The Bridge Builder
Web feature: arr. Jing Ling Tam — Jasmine Flower

February 27: Men's Choir and Women's Choir, under the direction of Rhonda Fuelberth (Women) Christopher Aspaas (Men)

7 a.m. hour:
  • Lodovico Viadana, arr. Earlene Rentz — Exsultate Justi in Domino (Men)
  • Joan Szymko — I Dream a World (Women)
7 p.m. hour:
  • Craig Hella Johnson — we are (Men)
  • Ola Gjeilo — Ubi Caritas (Women)
Web features:
  • Timothy Takach — Goodbye, Then (Men)
  • Joan Szymko — Ubi Caritas (Women)

February 28: Concert Band, under the direction of Stephen Peterson

7 a.m. hour: Morten Lauridsen — O Magnum Mysterium
7 p.m. hour: John Mackey — Kingfishers Catch Fire, movement II
Web feature: John Mackey — Kingfishers Catch Fire, movement II

March 1: Symphonic Band, under the direction of Takayoshi Suzuki

7 a.m. hour: Alfred Reed — Symphony No. 3 movement II. Variations on the "Porazzi" theme of Wagner
7 p.m. hour: James Barnes — Fantasy Variations (On a theme by Niccolo Paganini)
Web feature: James Barnes — Fantasy Variations (On a theme by Niccolo Paganini)

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