Five Jacksonville students earn All-State Music honors


Several Jacksonville High School music students have participated in recent Illinois Music Education Association music events.

Seniors Catherine Ott and Steven Doss participated in All-State Chorus activities while senior Gabe Karr participated in the All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble and senior Gavin Cox and sophomore Jalen Morgan participated in the All-State Honors Chorus, according to Cory Ellis, JHS band and bandleader.

“I believe it’s the greatest group[former choir director Jacob Smetters]has ever had,” Ellis said.

Students prepared a solo piece and scales as part of an audition for the district competition, and all-state entrants are chosen from the all-district pool, Ellis said.

“I think we had 12 choir students (participated) in the district,” Ellis said. “Five went to All-State, which is again a record number.”

Ellis credits Smetters, who has since left the district, with the screening.

“I think Jacob prepared the students pretty well,” he said. “He ran a pretty solid program.”

But the students also deserve credit, he said.

“The group of seniors we have right now is quite exceptional,” he said. “The ones we brought with us (to All-State) are not only great musicians, but also super mature ones. They have very good self-control and know how to manage themselves.

Activities in all states took place over three days – including rehearsals, work with clinicians and performances.

While the students are musically gifted, only one of the seniors intends to pursue a career in music, Ellis said, noting that Karr wants to work in musical theater.

“People who aren’t music majors tend to put (All-State) on their resume,” Ellis said. “It shows that you are capable of putting your nose to the grindstone and preparing for an audition to the best of your ability. It’s the same as when someone in a sport reaches state level. There have been distinctions for a long time.


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