Third time’s the charm

G-R’s Latchman earns a chair at All-State Band

Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior Wesley Latchman is all smiles after it was announced that he qualified for the 2021 All-State Band. Latchman plays trombone and will be the first G-R All-State band member since 2010. Contributed photo

Later this month Gladbrook-Reinbeck will have the honor of being represented in the Iowa High School All-State Band for the first time in more than 10 years.

On Oct. 23 Rebels junior Wesley Latchman traveled to Hampton-Dumont High School to participate in the All-State auditions, a process he’s been working at for the past three school years.

Three was the magic number for Latchman, who later that day saw his name listed among those chosen for the All-State Band.

According to G-R Music Instructor Laura Sabotta, the last All-State Band member Gladbrook-Reinbeck has qualified was Angela Wrage in 2009 and 2010.

“I’m proud of Wesley for all of the hard work that he’s put into winning a spot with the All-State Band,” Sabotta said. “Winning a spot with this group is difficult because you are auditioning against the top music students across the state of Iowa, so it’s a huge deal.”

Leading up to audition day, students receive their audition materials in July and then set to work polishing and perfecting their techniques.

For the band performers the auditions required them to play a solo, two to three etudes, 12 major scales and a chromatic scale.

Latchman has dedicated special time working with a private trombone instructor on top of his work in the school band. Sabotta indicated she’s seen “huge gains” in Latchman’s trombone skills through his high school career.

This fall has been action packed for the junior as he participated in cross country, sang in the choir, performed in the fall musical and prepared a successful All-State audition on top of his responsibilities as a student.

“He’s clearly a busy guy and it’s impressive to see him excelling in the arts, in sports, and in academics,” Sabotta said. “As a community, we have a lot to be proud of for students like Wesley who want to do it all and who give their best efforts in everything they do.”

This weekend Latchman will head to Ames for three days packed full of rehearsing leading up to the performance Saturday evening at Hilton Coliseum.

Students will arrive on the Iowa State University campus on Thursday and will audition for chair placements. Latchman will be among 18 trombonists participating in the All-State Band which pulls from all schools within the state of Iowa.

On Friday and Saturday multiple rehearsal sessions will take place as the performers will fine tune their pieces with their conductor.

This year the All-State Band will be led by Dr. Andrew Boysen Jr. of Durham, N.H.

Boysen is an Iowa native (and an All-State Band alum) and currently works as a professor in the music department at the University of New Hampshire.

Apart from conducting the 2021 All-State Band, Boysen was also commissioned to compose a piece especially for this year’s All-State Band.

The piece is titled “Phoenix” and was written in 2020 amidst the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Boysen said thinking about the world having to come back from such a wide-reaching health crisis brought about the imagery of the phoenix being reborn.

Along with the guest conductors will also be commissioned young professional musicians to join the All-State ensembles as soloists to further add to the grandeur of the experience.

The All-State Music Festival will include performances by the Iowa All-State Band, Chorus and Orchestra and will conclude with the standard rousing patriotic songs “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “America the Beautiful” performed by all three ensembles.

The Iowa High School All-State Music Festival will take place on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. Tickets are on sale now.

The concert will also be broadcast at its traditional Thanksgiving time on Iowa PBS TV. The television broadcast is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.