Re-2 Choir students honored
The hard work is over – or maybe it’s just beginning – for five Garfield Re-2 high school students who earned Colorado All-State Choir honors.
David Bahena and Lance Fullenwider from Coal Ridge High School, and Erynn McCathern, Jordan Kennedy and Karisa Coombs from Rifle High School will all travel to Denver in February for the All-State Choir performance at the Buell Theater.
“The auditions are over,” said Jordan, who is returning to the All-State choir in the mixed choir after participating in the ladies All-State choir as a junior. “Now, we need to learn our all-state music. I would tell people that are new to all-state, keep an open mind and just try to connect with the people around you. It’s really cool and it’s easy to connect with people that you don’t even know when you’re singing with them. That’s the best part of it.”
But it’s not quite so simple.
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“It is a very great honor to be recognized for their self-motivation, hard work to hone their musical talent,” explained Coal Ridge Choir Director Nancy Beyea. “Their work lies ahead for them.”
Beyea explained that all of the All-State choir members must memorize six songs, attend a first audition where they are evaluated by a judge on any song in their repertoire for this event. If they are well prepared, they can be removed from the honor of participating.
The work to earn an All-State Choir designation is just as rigorous.
“It is so difficult to get in,” added David who is also returning to the choir for a second time. “You have to practice your piece and your scales. I practiced my scales early on for about five minutes every day so that when the time came as part of the audition, they were easy.”
Scales are just part of the audition process. Students can achieve a total score of 100 points as part of their all-state audition. Students must perform a musical solo, typically a classical or folk song. Judges look for tone quality, singing in tune, the 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 melodic and rhythmic sight-reading. Only juniors and seniors can audition for all-state.
Rifle High School Choir Director Daryl Gingrich said it is an honor for a school to have even one student make it to all-state.
“It is a great process, if a student wants it they can go for it. It also is very challenging. I have had many fabulous students audition and not make it,” he explained. “I have been blessed to have a student make all-state for the past 16 years. I feel blessed just to have one student make the choir. Many schools do not even have a student make it.”
Ultimately, he added, the process makes each high school choir better as individual singers work for their goals, it lifts up the group.
For all of these high school vocalists, music is a passion and across the board, they are excited to be a part of a large group of vocalists with the same passion, musical education and focus on the finer skills.
“Being extremely passionate about music for such a long time and knowing that all-state is kind of an end goal keeps you going,” explained McCathryn of the extra time and hours that she and her peers have put into their auditions. “You’ve worked all these years to get to this level. I’ve been waiting since my freshman year to audition for this.”
Students will perform the “balcony sing” at the Embassy Suites on Feb. 21, and then perform at the Buell Theater on Feb. 22.
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