Students participate in annual ILMEA performances


ILMEA state choir performance on Jan. 26 in Peoria, Illinois. (photo cred Lucas Barnes ’22)

Hannah Race, Reporter

The Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) hosted performances in Peoria to showcase selected students from schools all over the state, with LT students among them.

“I hope that students first take away a real feeling of pride for all of their hard work,” music teacher Mark Dahl said about the experience. “Beyond that, I hope they enjoy getting a chance to make music with some of the best musicians throughout the state while being directed by top-level conductors.” 

This year, LT had 41 students selected for district ensembles in the areas of band, choir, orchestra, jazz band, and jazz choir, Dahl said.

Jazz band students were directed by their ILMEA conductor Tom Garling, who also composed some of the songs they performed. The songs that they played included: “Big Dipper” by Thad Jones, “Big Mac Daddy” by Tom Garling, “In the Pocket” by Tom Garling and “This One’s for Sturm” by Tom Garling.

“[My favorite song we played was] ‘Big Mac Daddy,’” Nate Spratford ‘23 said. “That was one of the songs by Garling and it was really fun. He tried to spread out the improv so we all had a solo, so that song had my big solo.”

Spratford performed with other jazz band students on Nov. 13 in district-wide ILMEA, which Lucas Barnes ‘22 also participated in and then advanced to state-wide ILMEA, which was held on Jan. 26.

“I [was] looking forward to the state conference, because [I was] sure it [would] be just as fun [as the district conference], because it is a three-and-a-half-day event,” Barnes said. “I hope[d] to make many lasting memories and I [was] very much looking forward to performing some wonderful pieces.”