Two Elm Students Earn Music Honors, Named to All-State Chorus

Kate Kondela and Elise Kanable

Kate Kondela, left, and Elise Kanable were recently named to the Illinois Music Education Association's All-State Elementary Chorus. The chorus will perform later this month as part of ILMEA's annual conference in Peoria. (District 401 photo by Dave Porreca)


When the 2022 All-State Elementary Chorus performs at the Peoria Civic Center later this month, the group will include two Elm Middle School 6th graders: Elise Kanable and Kate Kondela.

Elise and Kate were selected for All-State honors by the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) after they were nominated by their music teacher and choir director, Mr. Michael Popplewell.

The All-State Elementary Chorus will perform at noon on Saturday, Jan. 29, as part of ILMEA's annual conference in Peoria.

"I was very happy," Elise said of her reaction when she found out she had been chosen. "I'm very excited to attend that."

"I was really excited too, since I'll be doing this along with Elise," added Kate.

Kate and Elise are members of Elm's 6th-grade choir. They participated in their first middle school show on Dec. 7, when they sang in Elm's 2021 Winter Concert. (A photo gallery is available here.) The show included a solo by Kate.

They've been singing since elementary school, when each belonged to their respective school choirs, John Mills for Elise and Elmwood for Kate.


Kate Kondela

PHOTOS: Kate Kondela (above) and Elise Kanable (below) rehearse a song in Mr. Michael Popplewell's 6th Grade Choir class. D401 photos by Dave Porreca (click images for larger view).

Elise Kanable


"I've always really loved music, and I've always really loved to sing at home," Kate said. "It's just a big part of me."

"It's great to be with a bunch of people and singing songs," commented Elise. "Music is just like a big part of life, so it's just really fun and exciting."

In the weeks leading up to the All-State concert, Elise and Kate will practice on their own with help from Mr. Popplewell. On the morning of the concert, the chorus members will get together as a group for the first time and rehearse for several hours.

At the concert itself, a girls chorus will sing three pieces under the direction of conductor Angie Johnson, followed by a boys chorus singing three pieces directed by conductor Marla Butke.


Kate and Elise sing

PHOTOS: Kate and Elise (top photo) sing with their classmates as Mr. Popplewell directs them (bottom photo). District 401 photos by Dave Porreca (click images for larger view).

Mr. Michael Popplewell


The Elementary Chorus is just one of several All-State concerts that will take place concurrently with the ILMEA conference, which runs from Jan. 26 to 29. 

As the organization noted in a press release, "Students in the performing ensembles represent the best student musicians in Illinois and come together to present a series of All-State concerts featuring bands, orchestras, choruses and jazz ensembles."

Each of these concerts will be led by distinguished conductors and educators from across the country. The conference itself brings over 12,000 students, educators, parents and music education industry vendors to Peoria to celebrate and promote music education in Illinois.

Congratulations again to Kate and Elise, as well as to their teacher, Mr. Popplewell!


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