Sheldon School District

For the second straight year, Sheldon High School is sending four students to the annual Iowa All-State Music Festival.

Senior Claire Krogman and sophomores Preston Crawley and Christian Richards were selected as all-state participants in choir and sophomore Valerie Cook was an all-state selection in band.

The 76th Iowa All-State Music Festival is scheduled for Thursday-Saturday in Ames. The activities are capped off with a concert presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, in Hilton Coliseum.

It is the second straight year three students from the high school choir program were selected.

“I’m very happy with the way things went for us at auditions,” said Sheldon High School choir director Brandon Lenderink. “I tell the kids that the point of the process isn’t necessarily making it into the choir, but it is to become a better singer by going through the process. Everyone made great progress through preparing for the audition and having three students accepted is honestly just a nice bonus.”

For Krogman, it is the second year in a row the senior has qualified for the festivities in Ames, which Lenderink said is hard to do.

“Especially because she auditioned in separate voice parts each year,” he said. “There are so many things that could end up costing a student an all-state spot, and we never know exactly what a judge is going to be listening for in the auditions. The fact that she navigated that two years in a row is really a testament of how hard she’s worked.”

Krogman also was not recalled either year, which Lenderink said means she was one of the top performers in the center both years.

Lenderink said Krogman has improved a good amount since last year’s selection.

“The biggest improvements she made were in her mental game and just her confidence going through this process,” he said. “Claire has always been a hard worker, and I think being accepted last year helped focus her work for this year. She knew exactly what she needed to do and then worked hard to make it happen.”

It was not Crawley’s first year auditioning, but last year he tried out for all-state band as a trumpet player instead of choir. This year he switched it up.

“Preston is a very talented musician, so I was happy he wanted to try out on the choir side this year,” Lenderink said. “He and Claire really work well together, so their audition went really well.”

For Richards, it was his first year auditioning for all-state choir.

“It’s even more impressive that he was accepted,” Lenderink said. “He’s got a big, confident sound that I think the judge really went for. He was excited for auditions rather than nervous and that really helps students stand out.”

Cook was only the third freshman in the past 22 years at Sheldon High school to be selected into all-state band last year.

“Valerie has been selected twice and I’m sure she will continue to work to be a member of the elite four-year all-state,” said Sheldon High School band director Cliff St. Clair. “The all-state weekend is an experience that students want to repeat after making it the first time.

In the last two decades, Madeline Gude, a 2018 graduate, is the only four-year all-state band member from Sheldon.

But Cook has crossed off two of the four years and St. Clair said the sophomore French horn player continues to get better.

“Valerie continues to improve her skills on her instrument and playing expressively. I hear greater mastery in her playing in comparison to last year,” he said. “Valerie possesses an excellent sense of pitch and the ability to play independently, which allows her to succeed on the horn. Making music with the best of the best is a motivating experience.

“It has become a positive addiction. Valerie has been hooked and will continue to strive to repeat as a junior and a senior.”

Next year St. Clair hopes to see a few more students with Cook on the all-state band list from Sheldon High School.

“I certainly wish that more band members would be motivated to practice so they can have the all-state experience,” St. Clair said.