Sophomore Heather Sledzinski and junior Mahmoud Jabir were recently chosen to represent Montini Catholic High School at the Illinois Music Education Association District 9 Music Festival to be held on November 3rd at Elgin High School. The festival is a yearly event sponsored by the Illinois Music Education Association. Heather and Mahmoud were selected to perform in the District Concert Band (Mahmoud) and Chorus (Heather).
Auditions took place at Addison Trail High School on October 2nd, 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 auditions for Chorus involved tonal skills including scales and triads, selected pieces of music, and sight-reading," informed Heather. "Points were earned based on tone quality, the ability to stay on key, and for correct dynamics and musicianship. Each singer needed to go to a different room for every skill where a different judge would listen."
Heather admits she was a little shocked when she heard that she had been selected for the performance. "Mr. (Belford) Hernandez (Montini music instructor) suggested that I should try out for ILMEA, but I only considered it a trial year, figuring there would be a lot more experienced singers there," she said. "But I'm excited. It's a great opportunity to be able to sing with many other people!"
According to Heather, her parents were also very proud and excited. "They didn't know what ILMEA is, only that they needed to drive me an hour to get to the auditions," Heather said. "My whole family went to the performance (on November 3rd), and they really enjoyed it. Not only did they get to hear the senior choir, but also the very talented band and orchestra."
Unlike Heather, Mahmoud was very nervous about performing at the festival, but described it as a really fun and enjoyable experience! He plans on studying music in college with the desire to play beyond his college years. "I'm grateful for all that Mr. Hernandez and Mr. Loeb do for the Montini music department and all they have done to help me improve as a musician.
Mahmoud also has a few words of wisdom to give to musicians with the dream of performing at ILMEA next year. "My advice to anyone trying out for ILMEA next year is to practice super hard and do the best that you can do!"
Both Heather and Mahmoud were called up on stage prior to the Music Festival, during Montini Catholic's annual Fall Concert, where they received much deserved applause from classmates, friends and families.