Alta student first to make All State Band four times

Friday, November 16, 2018
Congratulations to clarinetist Carly Drenth for being the first student in Alta to make it to All State Band four times! / Photo by Elijah Decious

Alta-Aurelia High School student Carly Drenth will be the first in Alta and Alta-Aurelia history to bear the honor of making it to All State Band four times. The senior clarinetist is excited to be auditioning and attending a music festival in Ames this weekend.

“I feel honored,” she said on being the first to do this.

Since 5th grade, Carly has shown exceptional promise with her musical talent—though nobody quite knows where in the family it comes from. “My dad told me he got kicked out of band in high school because he was so bad,” she chuckled. She has a cousin who is a piano teacher—we suppose that lineage is close enough.

It’s probably safe to assume her hard work and dedication has pulled her through to her fourth All State qualification. She credited middle school band teacher Nikole Nuttal for her early inspiration, as high school band director Corbet Butler stood next to her.

“Sorry,” she shyly smiled, “she came first.” Mr. Butler understood. Drenth still studies with Nuttal privately, practicing two to three hours per day.

Drenth also plays the saxophone, and leads others in alto saxophone in jazz band, though she prefers the clarinet since it’s what she started on. She chose the clarinet in 5th grade because of it’s versatility.

“They told me I could switch to saxophone later on, and I was like, well I want to do everything I can,” she said. The choice for this musician was one of utility.

Butler said he has seen her grow immensely since he started working with her as a freshman—a challenge that has pushed him given her talent. “Everything she saw in high school band was a challenge: how can I conquer this,” Butler said, describing her biggest feature as hard working, complementary to her natural talent.

How does one push an already-talented person to the next level? “Honestly, it’s intimidating,” Butler admitted. “I enjoyed taking her strengths and using them to put her in those leadership roles.”

Butler said she has learned how to take her talent and ability and share it with others through education. He gave her leadership roles within the band to help her grow in her desire to go into music education. Drenth is considering a music education major at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and Drake University in Des Moines.

“If I notice they’re struggling, it’s my job to reach out to them,” she said with her section leader roles.

“She’s very selfless,” Corbet said. The leader also helps direct as a drum major from time to time, as if she didn’t already have enough on her plate.

“It’s surreal,” the teacher said, having his first student in eight years qualify for All State four times. He credits it as a testimony to her thousands of hours of work.

“It’s truly her honor and her honor alone in terms of all of the time and effort she’s put in,” he said. Butler said she has pushed him to be a better musician and teacher to provide the right guidance and teaching to her and other students. “It’s not one-sided.”