Greenwood Singers Attend All State

By Sophie South, CO Editor-in-Chief

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When it comes to large events happening around Kentucky, KMEA all state choir is one of the biggest events involving students and teachers around the state. Teachers prepare students for this honor, and students work hard to achieve and receive this prestigious honor.

Choral student teacher Katie Vogel stated that “choirs across the state are permitted to send 20% of their 10th-12th grade choir to audition for all state. Students are evaluated on their ability to sing accurately in regards to pitch, rhythm, voice quality, ability to stay on their part in the quartet, and their ability to stay on their part when singing alone. Students must then sight-read a short melody while being evaluated on accuracy of notes and rhythms.”

For Greenwood, Ms. Osborne holds an “in-house audition” for students who are interested in auditioning for all state. For this separate audition, Ms. Osborne chooses four colleagues to judge students on the excerpt and one to judge the sight reading portion.

“I actually don’t pick the 20%, I have judges come in and rank students for me. This makes the process much easier on me, since I don’t have to pick and choose kids, I just decide the cut off of the 20%,” said choir teacher Ms. Osborne.

Twenty-seven of the 50 Greenwood students who auditioned were chosen carefully to make it through to the actual audition, which was held at Bowling Green High School this past year.

Each quartet would perform in front of the four state judges, who were each assigned to a certain vocal part. You would have to perform the whole excerpt together, and the judges would choose a solo for each singer to sing within the excerpt.

After this part of the audition, each singer would go into a sight reading room by themselves to perform the melody they are given.

“I felt very confident and pleased with my audition afterwards,” said senior Lydia Cantrell.

“I felt extremely nervous and anxious to see the results!” said senior Jannah Bolin.
Judges have to determine the scores very carefully, as they also have to judge other districts as well. Typically, the results take from a couple of weeks to a month to receive.

Greenwood students Jannah Bolin, Lydia Cantrell, Megan Withers, Destiny Goodpaster, Lydia Cantrell, Sophie South, Conner Carr, and Linzey Smith made it through to the KMEA event held in Louisville.

This event took place February 7, 8, and 9. These students, along with Ms. Osborne and Ms. Vogel, traveled up by school bus to the hotel where most of the rehearsals took place.

“Upon arriving at all state, students check into the hotel, have some free time, and then go to their first rehearsal in which they meet their conductor and the rest of their choir. From there, the schedule is rigorously packed with rehearsals so the students can prepare for the performance at the end of the conference,” said Vogel.

There were three different choral groups that KMEA chose for students to be apart of. There is a mixed-vocal group (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), an all-women’s group (soprano and alto), and an all men’s group (tenor and bass).

“During the rehearsals, I felt really nervous about the Italian and French songs because those two are languages i’ve never had to sing before. Our conductor was able to teach us relatively easily and he also incorporated humor into the rehearsals. Instead of nitpicking each song, he let us figure out on our own what we needed to fix so we all could improve individually. He assured us, so we all felt ready for the performance,” said sophomore Destiny Goodpaster.

“The rehearsals start early and end late, but at the end of the week when you’re on the stage devoting every breath to the music, you see just how important every hour of those rehearsals were,” stated junior Linzey Smith.

Bolin also said that the rehearsals “were very intense and fast paced. You have to know your part or you will get lost really fast. It was so magical when the whole group got a part right and started making music.”

Although these rehearsals were very challenging and long, there also were many amazing parts and memories that were made through this experience.

“My favorite part of all-state is seeing students have fun and grow as musicians in preparation for performing in a choir setting. Students are then able to take what they learned from their experience and apply it to singing in their high school choir,” said Vogel.

“My favorite part was the conductor because he was such an interesting person and connected with all of us, even though he never knew all of our names,” said senior Ben Morrison.

“My favorite things were making music with talented people, singing Ave Maria in the atrium, singing the National Anthem in the atrium, and getting to do it all with great friends!” said Bolin.

Every year at all-state, students are asked to sing the National Anthem in the spacious Hyatt Hotel. Many adults and students video this particular part, which happens to go viral on the internet every year.

“The National Anthem is an annual tradition of KMEA All-State Choir which has been happening for approximately 60 years. The acoustics of the Hyatt in Louisville beg for students to sing into the space,” said Vogel.

“My favorite part of all-state is singing the National Anthem in the Hyatt. It’s a tradition every year and it’s such a breathtaking experience. Hearing everyone’s voices coming together as one for such a symbolic moment is so beautiful,” said Smith.

These all-state students were all apart of the final concert on February 9 at the Kentucky Center of the Performing Arts. Every group performed a selection of songs, which varied in difficulty and language.

“During the performance, I felt confident on all of the pieces except our Italian piece at some points. I felt more enthusiastic about each song during the concert as opposed to the rehearsals, especially on the last piece, which was a spiritual,” said Goodpaster.

“During our performance, I felt at peace. Not only was the music beautiful, but the people around me were as well. After our performance I was proud, but also very sad to have to leave so soon. I grow an attachment every year to the people I meet, and I get emotional when I have to leave,” said Smith.

 

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