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Groves Trio Earn All-State Honors

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Being recognized as an all-state musician doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it takes years of hard work and determination to earn the right to be mentioned among the best.

The Groves High School trio of Elodie Chapoutot (viola), Eleanor Limbaugh (viola) and Kasen Korstanje (piccolo) understand fully what it means to work towards a specific goal. The group of musicians were selected for the Michigan School Band & Orchestra Association (MSBOA) all-state honors full orchestra for the first time.

“We are extremely proud to have three students selected for all-state,” Groves Director of Orchestras Paul Shawver said. “It shows we try to provide programs that give them an environment where they’re going to flourish so they can reach their individual potential.”

The trio were able to see the fruits of their labor recently by performing with the all-state high school orchestra during the 18th Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids.

Student musicians from across the entire state audition for one of the 400 coveted seats in the five ensembles. On average, more than 2,500 combined middle school and high school students tryout during the academic year for MSBOA.

Some would assume the live-ensemble performance would provide the most nerves. However, it was the audition process that caused the most sleepless nights.

“I just wanted to get it over with,” said Chapoutot, who auditioned for the all-state ensemble for the first time as a seventh grader. “I knew I was ready to play, but halfway through my second piece I started shaking.”

Auditions are strategically designed to be unbiased. Student musicians are asked to prepare an announced etude, a series of scales and sight-read during each of their 10-minute recorded audition. Those recordings are submitted using an identification number with zero reference to the student or school and evaluated by an adjudicator.

“I did not expect to get in,” said Limbaugh, a senior who plans to study music in college. “You can do music as a hobby, which is fine, but it’s not going to get you into all-state because you have to have a certain level of dedication.”

Limbaugh and Korstanje have both been playing their respective instruments since fifth grade, while Chapoutot began in sixth grade.

“This is the culmination of years of preparation,” Shawver said. “It really showcases our most talented and most dedicated students, along with the other top students in the state. These students have been serious, essentially, for a very long time. All the hard work pays off to be recognized with the elite students in the state of Michigan.”

The trio were recently recognized for their accomplishments during the Jan. 17 Board of Education regular meeting.