Rifle High School sends eight to All-State Choir
RIFLE — “We all love music,” said Rifle High School senior Cheyanne Whaley of she and the seven classmates surrounding her.
The eight RHS juniors and seniors comprise the largest contingent of students to earn Colorado High School Athletic and Activities (CHSAA) All-State Choir honors in the school’s history, topping last year’s group by one.
Now the work really begins for Brett Christensen, Colby Rennie, Miguel Hermosillo, Moses Guillen, Austin Kennedy, Brinley Berrett, Kelly Coombs and Whaley as they prepare for the All-State choir concert February 5-7 in Denver. There, they will join voices with All-State choir students from around the state and learn from conductors from around the nation including associate director of choirs at the University of Michigan Eugene Rogers, director of the Yale Glee Club Jeffrey Douma, and Michigan State University Women’s Chorale conductor Sandra Snow.
As part of their All-State audition, students can achieve a total score of 100 points. Students must perform a musical solo, typically a classical or folk song. Jazz, pop and musical theater songs are not permitted. Judges are looking for tone quality, singing in tune, accuracy of the notes and rhythms, diction and musicality – the vocal dynamics, sensitivity to text and articulation to convey the appropriate meaning. The solo is worth a total of 50 points.
Students can also receive 50 points for their technical skills including tonality in their scales, intervals, melodic and rhythmic sight-reading.
Only juniors and seniors can participate in the auditions and all singers compete on the same level – there are no breakouts by school size like in athletic divisions. It takes many years of musical instruction, Berrett said, to prepare for the rigor of the All- State auditions.
“It’s not like you can just pick up some of these skills quickly,” she explained. “When you perform at All-State, it is a culmination of everything that you have learned up to that point.”
“You can’t measure the amount of time that it has taken us to practice for All-State,” added Hermosillo. “I began singing my freshman year and we are always practicing, always singing. Every note that we sing has been preparing us for the All-State auditions.”
Rifle High School choir director Daryl Gingrich has ingrained a culture of continuous improvement in his students and notes that the district provides strong support for music students.
“The students know the expectations and work very hard. The expectation is not to make All State, but to better yourself as a musician,” he explained.
Above and beyond the large group of All-State selections, Kennedy earned the highest score in the state scoring a 99 out of 100.
All eight wish to pursue music when the leave Rifle High School.
The entire Rifle High School choir will perform at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Rifle High School.
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Five candidates are running for three seats on the Garfield Re-2 school board this year.