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Hilltoppers represent Los Alamos at All-State Music Festival

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By Kirsten Laskey

Thirty-three Los Alamos High School students traveled to Albuquerque Wednesday not for a field trip or a vacation but for music. These students, along with their teachers, will be participating in the All-State Music Festival.During the festival, which runs through Saturday, participants will be studying, practicing and performing music at the University of New Mexico. Concerts held all-day Saturday will conclude the program.Members of each choir will perform seven songs while the bands and orchestras prepare for their pieces. LAHS choir director Paula Nichols said, “the band and orchestra have to work hard at it and have it well prepared.’This is a great opportunity for members of the LAHS choir, band and orchestra, Nichols said, because “they bring in really top name directors from all over the country. Those are the directors that then work with the kids.”She added the student musicians get to know and rehearse with other fine musicians.Several students said they were excited to participate in the festival. Josh Willms, a LAHS senior, has been involved in All-State in the past. For two years he participated in the program as a band member before switching to the choir this year. “I like the atmosphere of hard work and I like how people are so good ee it’s just the level of singing and playing is above what you usually have,” Willms said.Holly Marken, a LAHS senior, said she was “pretty excited.” She said she looked forward to “playing with a lot of people in a big band and playing challenging music.”Students are not the only ones who benefit from the festival. Nichols said music teachers also gain advantages. “We’ll be attending different workshops (and learn) how to do what we do better,” she said. “Also, it’s really the only opportunity to exchange ideas and meet with colleagues across the state.”To get into the All-State Festival, students needed to audition early last fall, Nichols said. Top students are selected to be a part of the festival.