Four Garfield Re-2 students named to All-State Choir |

Four Garfield Re-2 students named to All-State Choir

Theresa Hamilton
Special to the Citizen Telegram
Coal Ridge High School All-State Choir selection Paola Ortiz, left, and David Bahena.

Four Garfield Re-2 students have taken their musical talents to the highest heights that Colorado high school students can reach.

Rifle High School juniors Jordan Kennedy and Kalene Brand and Coal Ridge High School junior David Bahena and senior Paola Ortiz have earned Colorado High School Athletic and Activities (CHSAA) All-State Choir honors. They will perform with students from around the state at the All-State Choir concert on Feb. 2, 2019, at the Buell Theatre at Denver Performing Arts Complex in Denver.

All-State auditions are open to high school juniors and seniors. Rifle High School choir director Daryl Gingrich said getting just one student earn All-State honors is a significant accomplishment.

“It is a difficult process,” Gingrich explained. “There are schools that send several students to auditions, and don’t have anyone earn All-State honors. To have one student is a great accomplishment – to have two is awesome. It is a testament to the hard work that these students put in that we continue to have representation at All-State”

Coal Ridge High School choir and band director Nancy Beyea is new to CRHS this year. She knows the work that her students have put in before this year’s auditions is what has led them to their accomplishments this year.

“The time and commitment that these students bring to the process, is amazing,” Beyea said. “The hours of practice, memorization, and technical ability, just for the chance to make it, takes real drive and focus. All-State choir is a great achievement, and these students have dedicated their time and energy to make it happen.”

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. 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 and melodic and rhythmic sight-reading.

“Even knowing what will happen going into it, it’s very intimidating,” said Ortiz, who is returning for her second All-State choir concert. “The experience of All-State, for me, is about sheer numbers.

“It excites me when you go to these kinds of events, and you have the opportunity to perform bigger pieces and do more,” she said. “That’s really exciting because it is something different than what you can do in school.”

Much like athletes who hone their skills for competition, all of these singers have been working on their auditions since at least sophomore year. Passion for music is a must in the All-State competition.

“I spent at least an hour and a half most days for four to five months,” said Brand. “I’ve been working on this since sophomore year.”

Paola hopes that all of the Rifle and Coal Ridge All-State honorees can serve as inspiration for their peers in choir.

“This is my second year going to All-State. I hope that underclassmen and other students see that going to All-State is not a distant dream,” Brand said. “It is something you can do if you put in the work. If you are willing to put in time and practice, you can make All-State – even coming from a small school and a small choir. It is definitely attainable.”

Both Kennedy and Brand will be singing with the ladies choir, while Ortiz and Bahena will be singing with the mixed choir in February.

Theresa Hamilton is director of communications for the Garfield Re-2 School District.

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