After a challenging audition process, seven choir and band students from Black Hills High School have been selected to attend the All-Northwest Division Conference in Bellevue next February and perform with several hundred other musicians from around the northwest.
Symphonic band student and drum major Emma Lindemeier will be returning to the conference for a second time, accepted into the All-Northwest Wind Symphony to play either flute or piccolo. Lindemeier appreciates the “different perspectives” that All-Northwest can introduce students to by bringing them in contact with different conductors. Con Brio student Fiona McBride, who was accepted to the Alto II section of the All-Northwest choir, cites how the opportunity to sing with so many “motivated and talented singers and musicians” at the conference opens the door to learning “better techniques” she can then apply to herself. McBride, Chamber Choir member Sierra Hathcock, and Concert Choir member Lydia Wales will serve as representatives of Black Hills’ three choral groups while Lindemeier and fellow Symphonic Band students Taylor Reno, Dawsen Hansen-Todd, and Deven Nieves-Noel will be models for the band program.
The conference, which occurs biannually, requires students from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska to submit recorded auditions to a panel of judges with no prior knowledge of any of the students, who then select applicants solely on their musical ability. As explained by Black Hills band teacher Andrew Landowski, “All-Northwest is what they call an honor group…of the best musicians across the northwest”. The conference brings in famous composers and nationally recognized conductors to rehearse with students and prepare the honor groups for a performance that concludes the conference. “It’s kind of like a flash mob, really”, Landowski reflects, “except for the weekend”.
Choir director Kathleen Alviar encourages her students to audition for the All-Northwest conference for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to “work with conductors who are nationally and often globally recognized” in a choir “consisting of the best vocalists in the state and region”. The conference, as Landowski points out, also shows students how much other talent is around them: “There’s something special about being in a group of people that are so similarly minded.” Both teachers even encourage students to bring back new concepts to the music programs at Black Hills to help integrate different methods into their own teaching.
All-Northwest will begin on Thursday, February 16, 2017 in Bellevue, Washington, culminating in a final performance at the end of the conference on Sunday, February 19th.
Pictured: All-Northwest accepted students Taylor Reno, Deven Nieves-Noel, and Emma Lindemeier. Photo Credit: Angel Davis, BHHS Journalism.
By Gabby Connors