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Nearly a dozen music students in the Bitterroot Valley were selected to the annual Montana High School Association’s All-State Band, Chorus and Orchestra Festival held this year in Missoula, Oct. 17-19.

High school students from all sizes of schools have been selected from across Montana as the best musicians in the state.

“It’s a good experience because for the most part it gives these students a chance to perform in an honor group which is usually a step of from what they are usually performing in at home,” said Shawn Thacker, director of bands for Hamilton Schools. “It gives the higher-end kids that are more musical a chance to audition and strive for better musical excellence.”

Auditions for All-State were held last spring.

“There are several different etudes, scale exercise and solos that they perform as their tape in June,” Thacker said. “We send it in and they are selected over the summer. They are auditioning against students from all over the state of Montana.”

Thacker’s student, Lauren Roberts, has been selected to be in the All-State orchestra. She said she loves to play violin and is looking forward to the experience.

Peggy Bucheit, director of choirs for Hamilton Schools, has six singers going to the festival: Gus Courchesne — tenor 2; Cady Rollins — soprano 2; Lyric McCabe — soprano 2; Ryan Craig — bass 1; Logan Elliott — bass 1; and Eliot Biehl — bass 2.

McCabe said she is looking forward to attending All-State.

“It will be a really good experience and look great on college applications,” she said.

Biehl said he’s looking forward to the excellent music students from across the state.

“It’s a chance to prove how good you are,” he said.

Corvallis High School’s new Choir Director Ruth Reneau’s tenor Arthur Ryan was selected and Band Director Will Prince’s clarinetist River Gladwin was selected.

Florence-Carlton Band Director Jennifer Kirby has two students who have been selected — Teylah Lawson, a senior vocalist, and Kendall Boehm, a freshman French hornist.

“We are very proud of them and they'll do a fantastic job representing Florence in this year's All-State Music Ensembles,” Kirby said.

Montana’s All-State students will be learning and rehearsing with music educators: Band — Rebecca Phillips (director of bands at Colorado State University); choir — James Franklin (director of coral activities at East Carolina University); and orchestra — David Becker (orchestra conductor at Ohio State University).

The Montana High School Association’s All-State Festival is concurrent with the Montana Music Educators Association annual conference and student musicians will give a gala concert at 7:30 p.m., in the Dennison Theatre, University of Montana, Missoula, on Oct. 19.

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