Lincoln-Way student selected National Anthem singer for IHSA state tournament
Thursday, February 22, 2018

On the afternoon of February 8, 2018, Lincoln-Way East senior Samantha Grobmeier was traveling to an audition for a college musical theatre program; while en route to her audition, Grobmeier received an email from Choral Director Matthew Granger that notified her of another prestigious musical opportunity: she had been selected as the National Anthem singer at the IHSA State Basketball Tournament.

“I am so unbelievably excited to have this opportunity to perform!” says Grobmeier. “It’s opportunities like these that make me want to continue to pursue music as a career in college and beyond.”

Initial auditions for the event began in October and were hosted by the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) at Carl Sandburg High School. Students auditioning for the choral ensembles are judged in three categories. In the first category, students sing selected excerpts from the songs to be performed at the district festival; in the second, their tonal skills are tested; and in the third, students are challenged to sight-sing a piece of music.

Each year, 6,000-8,000 students across nine districts audition for the ILMEA festivals. After participating in the District 1 festival, Grobmeier was asked to audition for the first round of the National Anthem auditions, securing her position in the Honors Chorus at the All-State Festival. From there, Grobmeier was one of only two vocalists from District 1 chosen to audition for the second round of the National Anthem auditions, featuring 17 contenders. The highest distinction (singing the National Anthem) is awarded to the judges’ picks for best vocalists. The selection of Grobmeier makes her one of the top four singers in the state of Illinois.

“As parents, we hope that our children will aim high in every aspect of their lives, so when they aim high and hit the mark, it is an incredibly proud moment,” says Grobmeier’s mother, Cyndi. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that Sam has been given this opportunity to sing the National Anthem.”

The IHSA State Basketball Tournament will be held at the Peoria Civic Center. Grobmeier will perform on Friday, March 16, 2018, at the Boys Class 3A/4A tournaments at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The performance and games will be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago.

“The power that music has is unlike any other and I could not be more grateful for the impact that music has had on my life,” says Grobmeier. “None of this would have been possible without the support from my family, friends, music teachers, Lincoln-Way, and especially my choir director, Mr. Granger. This music department and the people in it motivate and inspire me every day to strive for opportunities like this. I truly could not be luckier.”