Students Head to Peoria for ILMEA


Benet Academy

Benet Academy band, orchestra and choir students that were chosen for ILMEA pose for a picture.

From January 26 through 28, eight students from Benet Academy participated in the 2023 Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) in Peoria, Illinois. ILMEA is the largest Fine Arts education organization in Illinois. The nominated students at ILMEA include Bella Mckendall (Honors Choir), Colby Van Gelderen (Honors Choir), Kyle Spiegel (All-State Choir), Lily Joy Santos (All-State Choir), Mina Chang (Honors Orchestra), Kevin Hernandez (Honors Orchestra), Mary Kipp (All-State Orchestra), and Emily Loftus (All-State Band). 

Benet Academy band, orchestra and choir students began preparing for this conference in October 2022 when they auditioned for districts. Following the auditions, the students were nominated to go to state. After the nominations, the musicians sent in auditions for placement in either the Honors or All-State division. 

The highly-competitive conference consisted of the top high school musicians from all over Illinois. The eight Benet students spent Thursday and Friday rehearsing in Peoria and then performing at the Peoria Civic Center Arena on Saturday. Shelby Chipman, the head band director at Florida A&M University, conducted the rehearsals and performance. While the students rehearsed, the high school directors attended clinics to learn more about what they could do to improve as directors in teaching music education. 

The state musicians shared their positive experiences with the event. Benet Academy junior, Bella McKendall, said, “It was such an amazing experience! I loved building relationships with people and singing together.”