(Posted Feb. 23, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Each year, hundreds of high school students submit audition tapes, hoping for selection to the prestigious Ohio Music Educators Association’s (OMEA) All-State ensembles. Only a handful are chosen.
This year, three honorees hailed from Madison County, and all came away with the same impression of the experience.
“It’s the best group of musicians I’ve ever played with. Also, there was never a dull moment. Everyone was fun,” said John Bollinger, a French horn player from Madison-Plains High School who made the All-State orchestra.
“It was very awesome being able to make music with people of such a high caliber. The musicianship was really eye-opening,” said Nathan Adkins, a trombone player from London High School who made the All-State band.
“It’s great to be with a group of people who love to do the same thing you do,” said Ruth Peart, a soprano from London High School who made the All-State choir.
All-State selection is among the highest honors a student can achieve in his or her high school music career. Students submit audition tapes to OMEA in May. Those who make the cut are notified in August and receive music in the mail. They are expected to show up prepared for rehearsals that take place over two days during OMEA’s annual convention in February. They then perform a concert for teachers, administrators, community leaders, family members and friends.
This year’s OMEA conference took place at the Cleveland Convention Center. The concert was held Feb. 4. Each ensemble—orchestra, band and choir—features 120 to 140 students.
Bollinger, a senior, plays in Madison-Plains High School’s concert and marching bands. He has taken private lessons since seventh grade and is a member of the Columbus Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has performed in the Ohio State Honor Band three times and has participated in music camps at Capital University.
Bollinger was one of eight French horn players in this year’s OMEA All-State orchestra. This was his first All-State experience. He is the first Madison-Plains student to make the cut in about six years.
“John is one of my strongest students,” said Renee Hostetler, Madison-Plains band instructor. “He gets great support from his parents and teachers. He is a bright and talented musician.”
Adkins, a senior, plays in London High School’s concert and marching bands. He takes private lessons and has played in honor bands through middle school and high school. He performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City with the All-Star Brass Band of Columbus and is a member of the Springfield Youth Symphony.
Adkins was one of 11 trombone players in this year’s OMEA All-State band. London has no record of the last band student to make the ensemble, which means Adkins could be the school’s first to achieve selection.
“Nathan is an incredibly talented student who is dedicated to refining his craft,” said Amanda Tobias, London band instructor. “His desire to always perform at his very best and constantly try to better himself makes him an excellent candidate for All-State.”
Peart, a junior, sings in London High School’s show choir, performs in the school’s spring musical, is a regular in Madison County Arts Council productions, and is a member of the London First United Methodist Church choir. She takes private lessons and has been a member of the Columbus Children’s Choir since third grade.
Peart sang Soprano 1, the highest part, in this year’s OMEA All-State choir. This is her second year making the cut. She is the first London choir student to achieve All-State selection.
“Ruth has a tremendous musical gift,” said Tim Tanner, London vocal music director. “Her voice has maturity beyond her high school years. Her solo voice is really amazing to listen to.”