11 musicians earn All-State honors | Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose Schools
August 8, 2023

11 musicians earn All-State honors

No fewer than 11 Buffalo High School musicians earned a place in All-State ensembles that convened for summer camps last week.

“To be selected is a tremendous honor,” said BHS band director Scott Rabehl. “Most schools in Minnesota do not get any students in these groups because of the rigor of the audition process.”

Five choir students and six band students earned All-State distinction by channeling months of practice into audition videos that were filmed last February, and sent to a panel of judges for selection in May.

Those selected took part in All-State camps during the first week of August to “learn from world-class conductors, section coaches from top Minnesota music programs and their peers,” according to the Minnesota Music Educators Association website. “All-State camp is an intense week of building musicianship, making friends and performing.”

BHS choir students chosen for the ensembles included Ellie Cassidy, Hope Schmitz, Harrison Klaphake, Xander Sabinash and James Nelson. Their camp took place at St. John’s University in Collegeville, and culminated in a concert at St. John’s Abbey.

BHS band students included Malaika Gallus, Maggie Bertsch, Kiera McGorry, Anna Wuollett, Oliver Holt and Lexi Zheng. They played in the Concert Band and Symphonic Band at Concordia College in Moorhead, and were conducted by Dr. Scott Jones from Ohio State University and Dr. Jacqueline Dawson from the University of Manitoba, respectively.

Tradition of success
Rabehl said that BHS is often well-represented at the state level due to the dedication of its student musicians, a cohesive district music program that begins at younger grade levels, and the assistance of skilled private teachers.

“Because we have such high-level performers in our groups who come to us with terrific training from the BCMS music teachers and BHM elementary schools, our students have what it takes to dig down deep and get a little bit better every day,” Rabehl said. “In addition, we are blessed by a stable of private teachers who many of these students study with to get one-on-one attention. This is necessary for students to achieve at a level close to their potential. Just being in the large ensemble is not enough.”

Ultimately, the experience of practicing and performing with some of the top young musicians around the state benefits all local students.

“Every student that develops their own skills to their highest potential makes the musical experience better for the students to their left and their right,” Rabehl said. “These kids will come back from this camp with a much larger musical ‘tool box,’ and they will be our musical leaders in 2023-24.”

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