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Bessemer sisters selected for all-state band ensemble


Katie Perttunen/Daily Globe

SISTERS MEGAN and Madeline Gabka exuberantly demonstrate how they did not play their instruments at the Oct. 25 auditions that won them spots in an 80-student Michigan all-state ensemble at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids in January.

BESSEMER - Two A.D. Johnston High School band students had great news this past week; out of 2,600 auditioning students, they earned spots to perform together in an 80-student Michigan all-state ensemble at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids in January, Steve Boniface, band instructor, said.

The conference is for music teachers and professionals, Boniface said, with the student performance as the week's grand finale.

Boniface has taught Megan for three years and Madeline for two. "They're wonderfully talented," he said.

"I'm very excited and proud for them," Boniface said. "It'll be a great experience for them."

Madeline Gabka, a sophmore and trumpeter, along with her sister Megan, a senior and oboeist, were selected after the Oct. 25 auditions in Escanaba.

"We had to drive from Madison to Escanaba after Megan's honor band performance," Madeline said. "We got there at 2 a.m. and then woke at 7 a.m. for the 8 a.m. audition.

"I played an extra scale (on accident), and I told my mom, maybe that's why I got in," Madeline continued.

"We're super excited," Megan said.

"We were all squealing," Madeline said.

Both have studied music for eight years through school and other arenas.

The sisters perform locally in the Gogebic Range Band under their father, Larry Gabka, who conducts. Megan has been in the band for seven years and Madeline has been performing with them for five years.

Megan also performs as principle oboeist in the Chequamegon Symphony Orchestra, which she has been doing for the last three years. The orchestra practices once a week, and performs three times a year, Megan said.

Both act, as well, and will be in a performance at the Historic Ironwood Theatre on Dec. 10 with the Ironwood Carnegie Library's drama group. They are also part of the newly formed Gogebic Range Drama Group.

"We wouldn't be where we are without the support of our family, friends and school," Madeline said.


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