by Jessie Meyen


Every year two students are chosen to receive the Arion Award. 

This year’s nominees are Lindsey Walker and Luis Garcia from Monticello high School.

The award recognizes outstanding musical achievement. Students may be chosen for their individual contribution to their scholastic and musical group or for their demonstration of exceptional personal and professional musical performing abilities.

Monticello Band Director Brett Krohn thought both students proved to be more than worthy.

“They are both extremely deserving,” he said.

According to the award was established in 1948 to give students the recognition they deserved from their schools in band, orchestra, and chorus. The award also recognizes academic achievements and has been a major factor in students receiving scholarships.

Walker was blown away by her nomination for this national award.

The Monticello choir has a weekly meeting to discuss updates and that’s when her director of choirs Nathan Herfindahl told her the good news.

“I was very humbled and very grateful,” Walker said.

She was aware of the Arion Award because she has five older siblings and has grown up going to all kinds of concerts in the Monticello community.

The Monticello senior was aware of the award, but wasn’t necessarily out to get it.

“Choir has taught me to engage in whatever I do for the process, for the experience, and what I can learn over a grade or award or an outcome,” Walker said. “We’re encouraged to engage in a class not for the grade or the numbers but because we actually want to understand and better ourselves to engage in the process – of life, of classes, of singing – mistakes and all.”

She’s a soprano 1 and she was drawn to music because of its power.

“I’ve been involved in our bands, in our choirs, in little ways throughout the year,” Walker said. “I have seen it touch lives in ways I cannot fathom. Whatever bit of music you have, whether you sing off key or can’t keep a beat, use it. Improve on it. There’s some inside everyone. My aunt likes to say, ‘Everyone has a heartbeat, we all have music’. I, for one, believe that’s true.”

She believes Monticello has given her the best opportunities to flourish as a musician.

Walk is especially grateful for her dedicated teacher.

“Nathan Herfindahl is truly committed to giving choirs the best experiences possible,” Walker said.

The Monticello High School Choir has had the chance to perform at the state MMEA Midwinter Festival, Arlington National Cemetery, and meet Supreme Court Justice Ruth Badre Ginsburg, and sing along side internationally acclaimed Voces8.

Though her senior year of choir is anything but orthodox with the effects of COVID-19, she’s still finding the positives.

“This transition has been incredibly difficult for everyone, staff and students alike,” Walker said. “We deeply miss the opportunity to make music together, and are realizing how important our connections to each other are in everyday life. With that difficulty, it has been helping us grow as performers, and really pushed each of us to the limits of our capacity in our independent musicianship.”

Luis Garcia was nominated for the Arion Award as Monticello’s band student.

He learned about his nomination through Monticello’s band director Brett Krohn.

Garcia had his eye on this award. He wanted to prove he could do it as a senior.

“This award was most definitely a goal of mine and I was proud to receive this award and it shows all of the work I have put into band the past four years,” Garcia said.

He has put in four hard years of work in the Monticello High School band and plays the clarinet, but he doesn’t put himself in a box when it comes to music.

“I love music,” Garcia said. “I love playing music and I also love listening to it. I am constantly listening to music and in school I almost always had ear buds in. The thing I love most about music is that there is something for everyone, whether you like playing it or listening to it.”

Performing has always been his favorite, he especially loves performing in the pit orchestra for the school’s musical.

His senior year of band, no thanks to covid-19, hasn’t been the same as any other year. It’s not the same when you’re a one man band.

“Band especially has really not been the same,” Garcia said. “I feel like band is one of those things where you have to be in a group to experience it the best, sort of like sports. Interacting with everyone around you and growing as an ensemble is not the same online and it’s been really hard.”

He has been looking at the bright side to get him through the school year.

“I have more time to practice and often find myself taking breaks from schoolwork by practicing my instrument,” Garcia said. “In my free time I like to practice any music I can find or some of the pieces I have from school.”

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