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Ivan Felty and Nicole Dallas Selected to Perform at ILMEA's Music Festival
Posted 11/14/2017 11:08AM

Senior Ivan Felty (Lombard) and sophomore Nicole Dallas (Lombard) were recently chosen to represent Montini Catholic at the Illinois Music Education Association District 9 Music Festival which was held on November 4th at Elgin High School. The festival is a yearly event sponsored by the Illinois Music Education Association.

Auditions took place at Addison Trail High School bringing close to 3,000 students from more than 50 public and private schools together to showcase their musical skills in the hopes of being selected. In the end, approximately 150 students from grades nine through twelve were selected to participate in this prestigious event.

"The overall audition was a blind audition and the procedure was very strict," informed Nicole. "Students walked in, played the etude, then were given a piece of music to sight read. Once all of these steps were completed, you had to exit the room to make it to the next audition." According to Nicole, it was prominent that participants did not say a word during the audition in order to keep the student anonymous to the judge. A few days after the audition participants were notified on whether or not they were selected to play at the festival. Ivan and Nicole were selected to perform in the District Concert Band (Nicole) and Chorus (Ivan).

Ivan, who was also chosen to participant at last year's festival, was thrilled to be invited to share his musical talents one last time during his high school career. "I was very excited to perform at this festival once again, and very honored to represent Montini," he said. Ivan has been interested in music throughout his 4 years of high school. "My mom (Merrily Eggert) was ecstatic when she found out I made it to the festival again! She and my grandmother attended to support me."

Ivan's tryout involved singing two selected songs and displaying his tonal skills for the judges. "I want to thank my teachers, Mr. (Belford) Hernandez and Mr. (Matthew) Loeb for everything they have done for me," he said. "I wouldn't have made it without them."

"All participants auditioning for the percussion section for ILMEA were required to perform five pieces," informed Nicole. "For percussionists, every etude was specifically assigned to one of five instruments: timpani, marimba, snare drum, crash cymbals, and tambourine." This year there were many percussion musicians from District 9 auditioning.

"I was ecstatic when I heard that I had made it into ILMEA," said Nicole, who said that music has been a part of her life since she found herself tapping her toes to the beat of the radio as a little girl. "This was my first really large solo-musical performance. Being able to be so young and represent not only myself, but my school, was absolutely incredible. I will never forget the feeling of pure excitement when I learned that I had been selected."

Nicole's mother, Anna Kowalik, was her biggest supporter throughout the whole auditioning process. "She was tremendously proud of me," said Nicole. "She and the rest of my immediate family were able to attend the festival. I had a few friends that came to support me there as well. I am so very grateful to have such supporting figures in my life!"

"I thank Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Loeb tremendously. I would not have had the courage to audition for ILMEA without the constant support from them. I have never had a band director view me as an individual musician before. They saw something within me that even I didn't see, and have strengthened my love for music and performing. They are the reason I feel so at home at Montini. I cannot truly thank them enough for having faith in me."

Both Ivan and Nicole encourage all young musicians to believe in themselves when it comes to music and performing. "Throughout this hectic process I had learned one important lesson. You don't have to be a prodigy to audition for ILMEA. The difference between a good musician and a great musician is hard work and dedication," said Nicole. And added, "I would advise others to make sure they put every ounce of work and effort into their talents. You can really accomplish such amazing things when you put your mind to it!"

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