Seven local musicians chosen for Wyoming All-State Band, Choir and Orchestra

David Peck

Seven talented young men and women from Lovell and Rocky Mountain high schools have been selected for the Wyoming All-State Band, Choir and Orchestra honors event to be held January 14-16 at Casper Natrona High School.
Rocky Mountain senior Gwynff Bodtke pulled off the rare feat of being selected All-State for all four years of her high school career. A flutist, Bodtke was chosen for the All-State Band her freshman and sophomore year and selected to the All-State Orchestra her junior and senior year.
She will play flute 2 in the orchestra concert January 16.
“The music is pretty much the same, just different composers,” Bodtke said of the orchestra versus the band. “I like the orchestra better. I love string instruments, and it’s interesting.”
“Gwynff is an outstanding musician,” Rocky Mountain Music Director Gerry Burton said. “She has dedicated many hours a week preparing herself for multiple events and our concerts. She spreads her drive and talents to many activities at Rocky Mountain and is always ready for more. This is how a musician makes all-state for four years.”
Bodtke will be joined in Casper by three other Rocky Mountain students: senior Katie Badget selected for the All-State Band and senior Jacob Bischoff and junior Sharlotte Hanusa for the All-State Choir.
Bodtke started playing in sixth grade, initially hoping to play the saxophone but ending up with the flute.
“I couldn’t (wasn’t allowed to) play the sax in sixth grade, which was my first choice, but I ended up really liking the flute, so I never changed,” she said, noting that, after the saxophone, flute was her top choice.
Bodtke hopes to continue playing in college, majoring in engineering or another mathematics-based discipline and minoring in music. She would like to attend Sheridan College, then move on to the University of Wyoming.
Besides her all-state selections, Bodtke was named to the honor band at Northwest College for three years, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City in February for the Honors Performance Series and last month played in the regional All-Star Band in Missoula for the second year in a row, nominated by her director, Gerry Burton.
She has also consistently received Superior (I) grades on her solos at the District Music Festival.
Badget has also found wide success in music, selected to the All-State Band for the second year, playing clarinet 2 this year.
She has also twice been named to the honor band at NWC and joined Bodtke with the regional All-Star Band this year. She has performed superior (I) solos at District Music Festival since her freshman year, she said.
Bischoff will sing bass 2 with the All-State Choir, Hanusa also 1.
“Katie has developed her talent on the clarinet over the past several years,” Burton said. “She has a great work ethic and spends many hours a week practicing her craft. This is her second year attending All-State, and what a way to finish off her senior year as she plans to attend college to become a music teacher.
“Jacob has an amazing voice as many of you can find him on Tik Tok sharing his talents with his friends. This will be his second year at All-State as he finishes up his senior year at Rocky Mountain. If Jacob isn’t playing his guitar and singing, you will find him playing some kind of sport supporting his friends and school.
“Sharlotte has been building up to this event for the past couple of years. She dedicated much time at home and school practicing the audition material. She has a great voice and works hard to better herself each day. She loves to be in the school musicals and is currently in the Modern Band Club, which meets Monday nights, as a vocalist learning the keyboards.
“These students are an amazing group and part of our core in the music department here at Rocky Mountain. Many other students put in hours of time preparing for the audition but fell short on making it to the event. Making All-State has been increasingly difficult each year as students are becoming more dedicated in trying to make it to this amazing event, an honor, called All-State.
Lovell High School
Lovell High School had three students selected for the Wyoming All-State Choir, with junior Jarrett Allen putting together a streak of his own. Allen was selected for the third time, singing bass 1 this year.
Sophomore Jay Mayes will also sing bass 1 in Casper, and sophomore Damian Wagner will sing tenor 2.
“Jarrett, Damian and Jay are exactly the kind of students you want chosen for All-State,” LHS choir teacher Carisa French said. “All three of them put in several extra hours of practice in and out of school. Since I’m new to Lovell, I don’t know all of their accolades, but I have observed them to be very talented and willing to put in the work to be successful. I chose all three to sing for the Wyoming School Boards Association conference and for our Music District Honor Choir.
“I’m very proud of these three and can’t wait for them to have this experience.”