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Band and Choir students perform at State


North seniors Nick Ellington and Grace James were invited to perform at January’s Illinois Music Education Conference for their musical achievements as recognized by the ILMEA (Illinois Music Education Association).

Nick Ellington’s arrangement of the score “Flight of the Silverbird,” a culmination of work beginning as early as spring break 2023, garnered him second place.

“I’m very new to composition. I’m very new to arranging and all that stuff, and the piece I was arranging was pretty involved; it was like a 50-piece ensemble. It was kind of a shot in the dark, and I didn’t really care that much about it,” said senior band leader Nick Ellington. “But hearing that they liked what I submitted was very rewarding, very uplifting, and I was so excited.”

Grace James performed as part of the All-State Choir, composed of a select 300 students from all of Illinois, by demonstrating her vocal expertise.

“I auditioned in the fall for ILMEA for our district by practicing and recording the required pieces for our district, which were three different songs with an excerpt from each. The audition also required us to sing three triads and two scales to ensure that we know the difference between major, minor, augmented, diminished, etc,” said senior choir member Grace James.

“Because my score of my audition was in a high enough percentile, I was invited to go to State for choir!”

Both seniors plan to continue pursuing music through college, and the musical journeys that led them to their current accomplishments are rooted in longtime dedication.

“I was just in fifth grade when I picked up my trombone, and then was when I joined the school jazz band,” Ellington said. “When I saw the lives of the people living these lives as I was being musicians, I was like, ‘This is so cool, I want to be a part of this.’ Meeting all these new people that are also driven like that, that kind of told me yeah, this is what I need to do. This is what I’m going to be for the rest of my life.”

Regardless of age or experience, the North music program encourages students of all kinds to join.

“One of the things that I talked about with my choir a lot is music being universal,” said choir director Alexander Moberg. “It’s attainable by anybody. You could do it and start your senior year or you can start as a freshman; anybody can be successful, and it’s just a lot of fun putting it together.”

For North’s budding musicians, and perhaps the disciple of any craft, music is more than perfecting a set of skills; it is a complex, blossoming matter of emotion.

“Music is just so diverse, and singing it with a large choir is incredible because of the harmonies and the sheer volume that a large choir like the State one can make. I personally love music because it can inflict emotions so easily through melodies and lyrics that transport both the listener and the singers to feel something that everyone around them is feeling,” James said.

North’s music program will continue to perform through the spring. Seniors will be recognized for their contributions, and returning students will be offered the opportunity to prepare for next year’s ILMEA by examining future audition pieces and other methods.

“The choirs will participate in MUSE, so the Jazz Choir will play and sing a few things for that event. And then our end of the year concert is in May. That’s where we honor all of the seniors, we have a lot of music that we present, and we’re combined with the Jazz Choir for that as well. It will be a kind of fun end to this semester,” Moberg said.

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About the Contributor
David Johnson
I'm David, a junior at North and a new addition to the editorial staff of The Knight Times. I enjoy creative writing and self-expression, but throughout school, I feel I haven't had enough opportunity to practice this skill I feel very passionately about. In my spare time, I create music, sketch ideas, write poetry, and participate in North's Academic Team every autumn.

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