After six years in the Richfield band program, RHS junior and flute player George Illes has been accepted into the 2023 Minnesota All-State Band. Chad Armbruster, director of the RHS bands, calls this a “rare and outstanding accomplishment.”
“George's acceptance into the 2023 MMEA All-State Band is an enormous individual achievement,” said Mr. Armbruster. “His recorded audition was evaluated by adjudicators who selected George's sound and technical ability above hundreds of students who auditioned.”
The Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State program, considered the top program of its kind across the nation, develops high school musicians and school music programs. Students audition for the upcoming year in March and judges listen to their recordings, evaluating them on their overall musicianship and their technique. In early May of this year, MMEA chose the final rosters for the 2023 All-State band. All in all, 565 students across Minnesota were selected for the seven All-State groups.
The competition is fierce and the audition process is rigorous. Hopeful musicians submit multiple recordings of themselves playing the provided music and are judged on their tone quality, intonation and pitch accuracy, rhythm and tempo, articulation, technique and more.
Acceptance into the program is right in line with George’s future goals. He hopes to pursue higher education in flute performance and plans to attend Bradley University in Illinois. George’s dream job would be to “travel the world playing as a guest for different orchestras.”
Not surprisingly, George’s favorite class at RHS is band. “I enrolled in band because there is a community there,” he said, “and I make up an important part of that community.” George’s favorite thing about school is interacting with people. “During COVID-19 it was hard,” he said, “but we’ve all grown so close this year.”
Outside of school, George participates in the Richfield Marching Spartans and enjoys the yearly overnight band trip. Some of his favorite memories have come from marching band and hanging out with his bandmates after the first parade each year.
George is most proud of his accomplishments on the flute. “It hasn’t been easy,” he commented. “I first joined the band because I wanted to play drums,” he joked, “but I tried all the instruments and the flute was the only one I could play.”
George plays the flute as his main instrument but has played tenor sax, piccolo and bass drum. “I'm very excited for All-State to meet new music people and play some interesting music.” Mr. Armbruster shares his excitement: “I'm so excited for George to have this opportunity and I know he will continue to represent himself and Richfield in a positive way.”