CLEVELAND — Throughout history, there have been many famous musical trios who reached the pinnacle of their profession.
Peter, Paul and Mary.
The Moody Blues.
Not in their wildest dreams did three Madison County high school students think they would be considered among the best in Ohio.
Now Madison County has once, twice, three times the number of All-State musicians as last year.
Ruth Peart, Nathan Adkins and John Bollinger have taken their rightfully-earned spots among the musical elite as each are participating in various All-State ensembles, sponsored by the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA).
London’s Peart is part of the All-State chorus, London’s Adkins is in the All-State Band, while Madison-Plains’ Bollinger is in the All-State Orchestra. They were in Cleveland at the annual OMEA Professional Development Conference. They practice with their other honorees, and then present a concert.
Peart, a junior, is part of the All-State Chorus for a second consecutive year. For selection, a recording is submitted to a panel of judges who pick the best-of-the-best from across the state.
According to London High School Vocal Music Director Tim Tanner, approximately 800 to 1,000 of the best singers in Ohio submit audition songs by the end of May. In the fall they are notified whether they have made the cut. Only about 125 earn the All-State distinction.
“Since there are so many students who audition, it is extremely difficult to be added to the ensemble,” Tanner said. “The London High School vocal music department is very honored to see Ruth bestowed with this great honor.”
Peart studies with Stephanie Henkle, and is a long-time member of the Columbus Children’s Chorus New World Singers.
The competition is likewise difficult in the All-State Band where London senior Adkins earned a spot in the trombone section. A member of the Springfield Youth Symphony, he studies with Dave Sellers.
“He is an exceptional musician who constantly works to better himself,” said Amanda Tobias, London City Schools’ Director of Bands. “He shows amazing work ethic in all his music endeavors.”
A strong work ethic is also part of the make-up of Madison-Plains’ Bollinger, who excels on the French Horn. He is a member of the Columbus Youth Symphony Orchestra who takes private lessons weekly at Music and Arts in Hilliard.
“He goes above and beyond to guide his section in rehearsals and makes strong musical decisions to enhance his section’s music contribution in the ensemble,” said Renee Perkins Hostetler, Director of Bands and Choir at Madison-Plains High School, of Bollinger. “He is a strong role model and shows this by how involved he is in extracurricular activities, as well as showing excellent musicianship in rehearsals.”
At school, Bollinger is involved in the dramas and Quick Recall. Although undecided which college he will attend next year, he plans to major in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in music.
Likewise, Adkins is greatly invested in his school — participating in cross country, track, Show Choir and the Nerd Herd. Involved in theatre as well, Adkins will star in the lead role of Albert Peterson in the London High School Spring Musical “Bye, Bye Birdie.” He plans to attend The Ohio State University and study graphic design.
Joining Adkins on stage at London is Peart as she will be playing Mrs. MacAfee in the school’s upcoming production of “Bye, Bye Birdie.” She plays percussion and oboe in the London High School bands.
In addition to being at the top of their musical games, Adkins and Peart are members of the National Honor Society and International Thespian Society (Theatre Honor Society). This is a fact not unnoticed by their school’s administration.
“I have greatly enjoyed being able to see them perform and see their talent shine,” said London High School principal Chad Eisler. “We have a strong and rich tradition in the arts at LHS, and these two young people are certainly contributing to that tradition continuing.”
And the school is hoping that the students’ success will lead others to set the lofty expectation of All-State status.
“I definitely think their selection will encourage others to audition — having a friend make the ensemble makes the goal seem more attainable to other students,” Tobias said. “I have already spoken with a student about their desire to audition for next year’s all-state band.”