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Linn-Mar Orchestra Plans to Flex Its Muscles at All-State on Saturday

Linn-Mar will send 19 strings to perform at the Ames festival.

By all accounts, orchestra is doing something right.

Nineteen strings won coveted spots at the 65th annual Iowa All-State Festival
in Ames on Saturday.

“This is the highest honor a high school musician in Iowa can achieve,” said Alan
Greiner, executive director of the Iowa High School Music Association, which
oversees the auditions and festivals. "They represent the top 1.7 percent of Iowa high school musicians.”

The All-State concert takes place 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Hilton Coliseum. The event is sold out.

Linn-Mar Orchestra Director Josh Reznicow is proud of his students.

“It’s incredible,” Reznicow said. “The kids are working so hard.”

More than 4,800 students auditioned in October for the 1,074 orchestra, band, and choir slots. Linn-Mar has a total of 51 students performing.

The Linn-Mar orchestra has a distinguished reputation. Several of its students have received excellent-superior ratings at contests, and in 2006 and 2009 the music department was recognized as a Grammy Signature School and named one of the top high school music departments in the nation, according to the Linn-Mar website.

Tiffany Lam, 17, a senior violinist, is proud and excited to be a part of the
festival. This is her fourth year attending.

“It’s a very fun experience and it’s a very rare experience,” Lam said. “You get to
hang out with people who love music as much as you do.”

Lam plans to make music performance a major in college. She holds first chair in Linn-Mar’s symphony and chamber orchestras.

Jabez Walker, 15, a sophomore cellist, will perform at the festival for a
second time.

“It’s a really good growing experience,” Walker said. “You get to interact with
really good conductors and really good players.”

Walker holds third chair in Linn-Mar’s symphony and chamber orchestras.

He practices music a minimum of two hours a day. Like Lam, he plans to continue music studies in college.

Walker began playing violin at age 3. He picked up the cello at 4.

He encourages the community to come out and see the orchestra perform in person. The chamber orchestra will be performing jazz music Dec. 8 with the school’s Jazz band.

He feels audience members will be blown away by the talent in their own back yard.

“We don’t just play music, we perform music,” Walker said.

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