Madrigals chosen to compete at All-state concert


Joy Belt

The Madrigals have been chosen to sing at All-state this year. The group is currently rehearsing their pieces.

Madrigals, the highest choir at DGS, has secured a place out of ten to perform in All-State on Jan. 30.

Joy Belt has been teaching at DGS for twenty years, and she is the choral director for Madrigals. She explained how Madrigals had to work hard to be chosen to perform at All-State.

“So we will be performing for music educators across Illinois. It’s a pretty big deal, and it’s hard to get in. You have to be on top of your game to get in,” Belt said.

Additionally, Ricardo Pedroza, the collaborative pianist of Madrigals who sometimes directs the choir, shared his excitement for the students’ ability to experience this event.

“Performing at All-State is one of the top accomplishments for a high school choir. It’s a privilege to work with such a talented group of students. I feel so proud of them. Being selected for such an event is in itself a significant fact. Performing at such an event is a growing experience, personally and professionally,” Pedroza said.

As a member of Madrigals since junior year, senior Amber Kass expressed her excitement towards going to All-State for the first time.

“Being a part of the group last year, I am really excited to go to All-State, for it was my group last year that auditioned and got into All-State. As a senior, it’s a really rewarding experience to get to go to All-State and perform for the best of the best, after the hard work that has been done by the teachers and students in the choir program,” Kass said.

In order to audition for All-State, Belt had to send in three audio files from the previous year, with this year being her first opportunity to do so. The tapes were sent in as a blind audition, meaning that the judges didn’t know which audios belonged to which high school choir. The judges select the ten best audios, and those groups are chosen to perform at All-State.

While it’s difficult to be able to participate in All-State, this isn’t Madrigals’ first time going. Under the previous choral director, Laura Koster, Madrigals went to All-State twice. Now Belt has an opportunity to see the choir group go to All-State with herself as the director.

“[T]his is my 20th year at South, [and] this is really my first opportunity, putting that audition tape out there partly because I haven’t had the group consistently over the years. Now, finally, I’m at a place in my career to be able to send in the tape,” Belt said.

With the goal of a good performance at All-State in mind, Madrigals’ practices have changed to make sure their singing is at its best possible level. Junior Zoe Boyd talked about her experience with the change in the practices.

“I do know that we’ve been practicing outside of school more often and in school. We practice the majority of fifth period and every other Wednesday after school. The boys and girls alternate, so it’s not necessarily more stressful but more of a commitment,” Boyd said.

In order to make sure Madrigals’ music is perfect for All-State, Belt decided to bring in other music educators to further the professionalism of the group. Three different clinitions, retired directors and college directors will be coming in to work with the group and offer a different perspective.

Not only do many Madrigals hope to have an experience that furthers their musical experience, but they also hope to walk away knowing that they did their best. Boyd commented on what she hopes will come out of the performance at All-State.

“I guess to be totally cheesy, I just want, by the time All-State rolls around, for everyone to be confident in our pieces and enjoy doing them, because when you do them over and over again every day. it can get monotonous, but there is something different about getting in front of people, so I just hope that we are about to do our best and people enjoy us,” Boyd said.

As the director of the group, Belt hopes the experience will enrich the musical knowledge of the students and also lift up the whole choir program at DGS.

“I just hope that the kids will walk away with a mountaintop music experience, that they will remember for their lifetime, that they will be so excited about the love of music that they then want to come back and spread it to the rest of their friends here at the DGS choir. I want it to really elevate our entire program,” Belt said.

According to Belt, the students that make up Madrigals have worked hard and deserve this opportunity to go to All-State. Belt highlighted how she feels about the kids in Madrigals this year and their potential.

“The group is made up of fantastic individual teenagers. I really do love these kids. … I’m thankful that they are going above and beyond because it’s really them doing the work,” Belt said.