The 2014 WMEA All-State Conference was held February 13th –
February 16th in Yakima, Washington.
This year, the Kaskaskia College Music Department played an
important part in the success of the conference. Professor Sarah Graham was
selected as the guest conductor for the 300 voice All-State Symphonic Choir.
The participants were selected through an audition process and chosen from
applicants from the entire state of Washington to take part in this year’s
ensemble. The students then rehearsed with Dr. Graham Friday and Saturday for 8
hours each day, and then for a 2 hour rehearsal on Sunday at the Yakima
Convention Center before finally presenting their concert at 1:00 PM. It was an
honor for Professor Graham to be chosen to guest conduct this year.
When Dr. Graham was notified about being selected for the
position, she decided to commission a composition to mark the occasion from
Professor Cliff Jourdan; this composition would then be premiered at the WMEA
conference with the 300 voice choir. Professor Jourdan accepted the commission
and the two began to work on ideas for the piece.
Professor Graham decided that the text for the music should
be “We Sing!”; this was a fitting text for this type of ensemble. That text was
translated into 12 languages and then Professor Jourdan began the composition.
The composition was eventually titled “A Choral Fanfare”. It was finished last
October and shipped to the students in advance of the event. The piece is now
published through Four Winds Music Publishing.
Professor Graham began working on the concert music with the
students on Friday, February 14. Professor Jourdan attended the rehearsals on
Saturday, February 15 and was met with an enthusiastic response by the
students. They were excited about the opportunity to premiere the work and meet
the composer with many students saying it was their favorite piece of the
Dr. Graham provided an opportunity for Professor Jourdan to
rehearse his piece with the ensemble.
In addition to the 300 students in the ensemble, nearly 3000
parents, patrons, and music educators from the entire state of Washington were
in attendance at the concert. A video of the performance will soon be
Professor Jourdan stated, “It was a wonderful opportunity
for Sarah Graham to be chosen as the guest conductor. It was a great honor to
collaborate with Dr. Graham on this project and to represent Kaskaskia College
and our Music Department at a National Music Conference. This type of
opportunity is special and puts KC into a national spotlight in a very positive