RB’s great eight headed for All-State


Claire Harrison

Students receiving their certificates at the 1/25/22 Board Meeting.

Claire Harrison, Managing Editor

This weekend, eight RB musicians will travel to Peoria for the 2022 Illinois Music Educators Conference’s All-State Festival. Out of the thousands of applicants, one student–Senior Claire Schroeder–was chosen for Chorus, three–Sophomore Lily Borkowicz, Junior Aydan Leffel, Senior Brooke Craig–for Honors Chorus, one–Senior Noah Briones–for Honors Orchestra, two–Junior Veronica Hunt and Senior Gwen Adelman–for the Future Music Educators Seminar (FMES), and one–Senior Max Didio–for Composition. RB music educators Kayley Smetana, James Baum, and Matthew Loeb will join these eight talented students in a weekend of music, professional development, and exhibitions.

Each student was invited to attend All-State after a rigorous audition process, proving them as some of the top high school musicians in the state. Instrumental and vocal students auditioned virtually for both All-State and the Illinois District 1 Conference back in October and were informed of their All-State results in early December. Students on the FMES track had to submit a virtual interview in lieu of a musical audition to fight for one of 55 spots in the entire state.

Senior Max Didio, heading to All-State for Composition, had an entirely different selection process. 

“The composition contest submission process isn’t like an audition, per se, because there’s no live element to the submission. It’s all about the composition, and not about how it’s played in the moment, so I really took my time fleshing out each of the songs I submitted. Then they’re sent off to ILMEA to be judged, and I hoped for the best,” Didio said.

After this submission process, Didio was awarded 1st Place in the state of Illinois for his electronic dance music (EDM) piece titled “Coruscate”. During his time at All-State, he will collaborate with other students and composers currently active in the field.

Also in her first trip to IMEC’s All-State, Senior Gwen Adelman is thrilled to be attending FMES. Planning to become a music teacher herself, Adelman looks forward to the specialized instruction about choral music education.

“I am really excited to spend three days learning about a subject I truly love. The clinics I picked to participate in and the performances I can go to will really highlight specific parts of the music I love and want to learn more about. To be quite frank, I am a nerd for all things music, and this is basically a convention full of people like me. I could not be more excited to be a part of it,” Adelman said. 

For those students participating in instrumental or choral music, the road to All-State has involved intense preparation and rehearsal. Senior Claire Schroeder, participating in All-State Chorus, has been preparing heavily for this weekend’s events.

“I worked one-on-one with Ms. Smetana, RB’s choral director, to learn my individual voice part as well as my tone with each piece. I also practiced my music with practice tracks provided by IMEC and sang along with other choirs’ versions of the piece,” Schroeder said. 

The culmination of this effort will be shown during Saturday’s performances in Peoria. Information regarding performance locations and times can be found at https://ilmea.org/imec

All eight of these musicians were recognized for their achievements at the District 208 Board of Education Committee of the Whole earlier this week. Dr. Hector Freytas expressed his congratulations on behalf of the Board of Education and the RB community as a whole while Board President Deanna Zalas and Board Vice President Ramona Towner distributed certificates.

This high level of achievement from so many students is not only a reflection of individual talent but also of fantastic instruction from RB’s three music educators. 

“…they are representing RB very well…We’re very proud of them and very excited for them to get to experience this, especially when other things have been canceled,” RB Choir Director Kayley Smetana said.