2023 Montana Allstate Music Festival

Allstate+band+performing

Kiri Smith

Allstate band performing.

The  Montana Allstate music festival went on in Bozeman over the long weekend. Allstate is made up of high performing music students from all over the state -hence the name-. These choir, orchestra, and band students audition in the spring of the previous school year. The Auditions for orchestra and band are a number of etudes which rotate every few years. For choir, the auditions are scales and etudes which are the same each year.  Their recordings are sent in and judged over the summer leading up to results being announced, usually a few weeks before the school year begins in August. Around the times students are sending in auditions, guest directors are choosing the music that will be performed in the fall. The students who make it into Allstate are then given their parts for the selected music to practice. Finally the students gather wherever the festival is being held that year over the long weekend given for MEA days. Last year it was in Great Falls, this year it was in Bozeman, and next year it will be in Missoula.

“Allstate is made up of high performing music students from all over the state”

The students rehearse together over three days. The first day is a three hour sectional where solos are auditioned for and part arrangements are finalized. In this time students are able to work with instructors specifically for their instrument or voice range. The sectional instructors are able to correct technique, and the students are able to become more familiar with the people they will be working closely with over the next few days. Next the sections work in their groups as a whole, under the previously chosen guest conductor. The first day is a rehearsal for about eight hours, with a lunch break and a few other short breaks. That night there was some sort of performance for the staff and students; this year the performance was a jazz combo under lead singer and trombonist Aubrey Logan. The next day the students resume rehearsal for about six to eight hours before performing in the evening. 

The concert  this year started with the band’s performance. To begin with, they played the national anthem followed by, a march,  a jazz inspired concert song, a ballad written concerning the Sandy Hook shooting, and finished with a song written from basque* folk songs. The orchestra followed the band’s performance where they played three songs. The first two were a bit calmer with climaxes in the middle. The third was given an intro in which the conductor jokingly encouraged parents to form a conga line, as it fit the latin inspired style. While parents did not get up and dance, a small group of choir students formed a line. Finally the choir performed seven songs, one of which included a steel drum accompaniment. The choir’s final song was written by a friend of their guest director who happened to be in Bozeman at the time, and he accompanied the choir on the piano. 

*Basque refers to a people group living in a region between Spain and France.