Iola musicians rake in more honors

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April 29, 2015 - 12:00 AM

The musicians who roam the halls at Iola High School and Iola Middle School put another bevy of feathers in their collective caps with their work at a pair of recent events.
The IHS concert band and orchestra earned a I, or “superior” rating at the State Large Ensemble event April 15 at Osage City.
Coupled with an identical score in 2014, this marks the first time IHS band students have gone back-to-back since Dale Creitz was the group’s instructor more than 50 years ago.
In fact, last year’s superior rating was the band’s first since 1993, instructor Matt Kleopfer said.
Students are judged on nine different criteria, from sound quality, technical accuracy, rhythm and stage appearance. The Mustang musicians averaged a score of 76 out of 80. One judge gave the students a 79 — essentially perfect — rating.
“They’re an amazing group,” Kleopfer said. “Every day they come to practice, they just want to be awesome.
“One of my favorite things about this group is when you realize that between last year and this year, the music they played was quite a bit harder, and these kids just annihilated it,” he continued. “Then to have in the judges’ comments that the performance was good, but I need to challenge the kids more, was just astounding.”
It hasn’t always been easy.
“Some of these kids have had to overcome some pretty big life obstacles,” Kleopfer said. “We’ve had some growing pains, but it’s really helped us grow tighter, and get even better. I know I’m teaching better than I did at the start of the year, and these kids are playing better than they were at the start of the year.”

THE ENSEMBLE event followed a  clinic and performance by the high school and middle school jazz bands April 10 at Washburn University in Topeka.
The IMS jazz band, in particular, has become one of the most highly regarded youth jazz bands in the Midwest.
“These kids are already getting recruiting letters from college professors, and they’re still in middle school,” Kleopfer said, before turning to one of his patented terms of endearment. “This band is stupid good.”
One of the clinicians, Dr. Craig Treinen, director of jazz studies at Washburn, will serve as the keynote speaker at the band’s upcoming banquet May 8.
“He’s a legend in the jazz scene in the Midwest,” Kleopfer said, pointing to Treinen’s recent induction into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
Kleopfer hopes to see a large turnout at the May 8 banquet, although time is running short to purchase tickets.
The deadline to buy tickets is Friday. Tickets sell for $10 for adults and $5 for children. The banquet will be at 6 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Band members will perform at the banquet.
“It’s not only for former band members, but for anybody who has enjoyed seeing the band perform,” he said.

THE IHS choir also performed at the April 15 Large Group Ensemble, earning a II rating, or “excellent,”
“I am very proud of them because they never had an opportunity to rehearse together or with the accompanist until 15 minutes prior to the event,” instructor Greta Adams said. “It was awesome.”
Several students shined individually.
Erin Klubek earned a II rating on her solo. Abigail Taylor also earned a II rating.
Katie Terhune, Garrett Prall, Aaron Terhune, Bryan Gentry, and Isaiah Fawson received I ratings, allowing them to progress and go to State small ensemble and solo festival earlier this week. Fawson, Terhune (solo), Gentry and Prall earning I ratings. Aaron and Katie Terhune (flute solo) earned II ratings.
“It was an awesome season for the music department in Iola,” Adams said.

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