In For The Long Run

Choir Members Qualify For State Competition, Speak About Next Steps


Photo Courtesy of Victor Torres

The choir students smile for a group photo at Region in November. The choir recently participated in the pre-area auditions, and the top 15 candidates (10 for voice parts and six alternates) advanced to the Area auditions. “I am immensely proud,” Assistant Choir Director Victor Torres said. “I am so proud of them. We’ve been having Sectionals in here just about every day. The kids have been showing up, really working on their music.”

Ruchi Sankolli, Assistant Editor

After constant rehearsals and performances, the choir All-State Candidates advance to the next round of auditions for Area. Area is the next step for them in their journey to the All-State choir, which the top students will get a chance to be a part of.

The 15 choir students recently took part in the pre-Area auditions after their performance at Regionals, where any student could participate. From there on, the top five students out of the 15 who make it past pre-Area will go to the area auditions, which will occur the first full weekend in January.  

Area is a competition in which several choirs from all over the region will come and participate. The choir will be going up against three other regions, with each participating choir from each region showcasing their skills, from singing songs to sight reading, to the judges. According to Assistant Choir Director Victor Torres, the scores from both their performance and their sight reading are both combined. After this, the top two from each voice part go into the mixed choir and the following three spots make it into the gender choir. 

The top candidates will be the ones competing, accompanied by alternates who will be competing in their place in case of an emergency. This is done is for each voice part, from soprano to alto to base to tenor. According to Torres, the top five spots for those who were going on, followed by the next two spots were reserved for the alternates. All in all, the choir has 10 people going on to the Area Auditions along with six alternates. 

“I think that [having so many alternates] speaks well of our program and really shows that we put in a lot of work to make sure we’re able to do our best,” freshman and Alto alternate Brooke Ferguson said. “I’m really proud [and] happy to have been able to work with all the amazing people who are alternates and advancing.”

The next step for the choir after Area is the all-state choir. Students who make it past Area get a chance to participate in the all-state choir, administered through the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), where the choir had previously won the national title. 

“By the time I graduate, my ultimate goal would be to make it to the all-state choir, and get a chance to work with those directors and musicians,” Ferguson said. “But those goals may be a bit out of reach, so I’d like to keep aiming to advance to at least the pre-area rounds of auditions for my next few years.

The candidates, such as junior Ava Callaway, who have advanced to the next round all had to start off with practices, such as Sectionals, which involved Area music practice nearly every day. As the only soprano advancing to the next round, Callaway cites practice and dedication as the main factor behind her individual success. 

“I had to work a lot,” Callaway said. “Over Thanksgiving break, I had to practice my music and sight reading every day, I had to go to Sectionals every day, I had to practice after school, I had to get private lessons, I had to sing on my own. I just practiced all the time. Practicing all the time was really the main thing I had to do to get to [where I am].”

The advancing candidates also get a chance to improve as musicians as well, according to Torres. Callaway said that she got to see her individual improvement over the years, a practice that Torres often emphasizes on the students.

“I think it’s really cool that I was the only soprano advancing,” Callaway said. “My freshman year, I got a lower chair, so I didn’t advance. But now I am, so I think that’s a really good improvement and a good way for me to look back at my past successes and see how much I’ve grown. It’s a really big accomplishment for a junior.”

I am immensely proud. I am so proud of them. We’ve been having Sectionals in here just about every day. The kids have been showing up, really working on their music.

— Victor Torres, Assistant Choir Director

Some are excited to see where their individual skills take them. Ferguson said she looks forward to improving her music and sight reading skills and meeting new people over the next few years. 

“It makes me feel very proud and excited for the years to come,” Ferguson said. “It’s opened my eyes up to things that I, as a musician, do well and some things that I need to work on to really up my game. It’s been amazing to get to know all of the amazing people in the program a little closer throughout this auditioning process, especially coming in as a freshman.”

Torres also reflects on the hard work that both he and the choir students have done. According to him, the choir students have been coming in and working on their music nearly every day for Sectionals. A routine that has helped them get far, according to Torres. 

“I am immensely proud,” Torres said. “I am so proud of them. We’ve been having Sectionals in here just about every day. The kids have been showing up, really working on their music. We took quite a few students, and there’s still quite a few of students that ended up not going on, so one of the things I really made sure to communicate to them is that the whole point of this process is not necessarily to make it all the way to All-State choir, it’s to grow as a musician. I am proud of every single one of our students [who] are doing that. Since day one, I’ve told them that’s the goal, and just seeing their growth from day one to where they are now, and just hearing how much that transfers into their self-confidence and how they are in class, I’m just completely [and] immensely proud of them.”