Next week, Jan. 25-28, the Illinois Music Educators Association will play host to more than 10,000 people during its 2012 music education conference at the Peoria Civic Center.  This is the 28th consecutive year IMEA has hosted the convention in Peoria.



More than 1,400 standout state high school musicians, including students from Metamora, Morton and Limestone, disciplined in band, chorus, jazz, orchestra and general music percussion, will perform in a variety of concerts during the four-day event. Professional development clinics will be held for the nearly 2,200 music educators attending.


Next week, Jan. 25-28, the Illinois Music Educators Association will play host to more than 10,000 people during its 2012 music education conference at the Peoria Civic Center.  This is the 28th consecutive year IMEA has hosted the convention in Peoria.

More than 1,400 standout state high school musicians, including students from Metamora, Morton and Limestone, disciplined in band, chorus, jazz, orchestra and general music percussion, will perform in a variety of concerts during the four-day event. Professional development clinics will be held for the nearly 2,200 music educators attending.

Special guest and speaker, Illinois Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon, who plays the banjo and bassoon in the band, Loose Gravel, will deliver the keynote address at 10 a.m. Jan. 26 at the conference’s opening general session. Introductions and presentation of awards will be given at this time by Roseanne Rosenthal, IMEA State President.   

Darcy Nendza, IMEA Executive Director, said the purpose of the conference is two-fold: “This is a chance for students to celebrate their hard work and showcase their skill. They get to play in an ensemble with students that they wouldn’t get to play with outside of All-State. It’s truly one of the marquee events in a high school musician’s career. We provide the most comprehensive and compact professional development opportunity for those teachers in their year.”

Kicking off the conference is the opening night concert from 8 to 10 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Civic Center Theater. Wycliffe Gordon with the Northern Illinois University Jazz Band will perform. Tickets are $5 and available through the Civic Center box office. The public is encouraged to attend.

Free and open to the public is the All-State Composition Contest Showcase Concert from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday in the Civic Center Theater. Eighth Blackbird, the Chicago-based, Grammy award-winning sextet, is scheduled play. The group combines the finesse of a string quartet with the energy of a rock band and the riskiness of a storefront theater company, according to the musicians’ website.

Other event highlights the media and the public shouldn’t miss are the:

 • All-State Jazz Concert at 8 p.m. Jan. 27 in the Civic Center Theater.

 • All-State Concert, featuring orchestra, chorus and band, at 1 p.m. Jan. 28 in the Civic Center’s Carver Arena.

 • Honors Concert, featuring band, chorus and orchestra, at 3 p.m. Jan. 28 also at Carver Arena.

The cost for each of the three events is $5 and is paid at the door. There will be a combined 1,325 students playing in the two concerts Saturday at Carver Arena.

 Local talent schedule is as follows:

 • Metamora Jazz Ensemble plays from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26 in Civic Center rooms 405-406.

 • Morton High School Symphonic Winds performs between 7 and 8:15 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Civic Center Theater.

 • Limestone High School Jazz Ensemble plays from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Jan. 27 in rooms 405-406.

 • Metamora High School Wind Ensemble performs between 8 and 9:15 a.m. Jan. 28 in rooms 403-404.

Also open to the public is the conference trade show from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will feature all of the music industry instrument manufacturers and music publishers to fundraising companies to colleges and universities. Admission is free.

In all, 21 hotels throughout the Peoria area will be utilized to fulfill the number of rooms needed for participants and guests of the convention. The IMEA headquarter hotel is Four Points by Sheraton.

 “The facilities in Peoria fit and support us very well,” said Nendza.  “We can’t say enough about the support we get from the (Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau), the hotel industry and the Civic Center.”

The Illinois Music Educators Association is a non-profit association, representing every level of music education, in every discipline. Its mission is to promote lifelong music learning and to provide leadership for music education. With more than 5,000 members, IMEA is one of the largest of 52 affiliates of the National Association for Music Education, which has over 100,000 members.