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The Westminster Bi-Line

Westminster Singers Audition for All-State Chorus

On Oct. 13, twelve Westminster high school students had regional auditions for All-State Chorus, held by the Georgia Music Educators Association.

The score cutoffs of the audition will be available in November to participants, and singers that have passed will be assigned to a specific all-state choral group: senior women’s, senior mixed, senior men’s or intermediate mixed.

In order to ultimately sing during the all-state concert weekend Feb. 21-23 in Savannah, participants must demonstrate 70 percent knowledge of the pitches and rhythm of their chorus’s assigned music at a second audition on Jan. 17.

For the first audition, singers were graded on a 90-point scale encompassing scales, a solo from an approved list (some of which were in Italian or German), sight-reading, ear training, and a music theory written test.  Participants already know their personal scores, but the scores needed to move on will not be determined and released until November, so only then will the singers know if they have passed the first audition.

The sight reading part of the audition was the most challenging aspect of the overall audition for many.

“I got really nervous,” said freshman Clark Conrad, “and messed up the rhythm on the sight-reading.”

This portion requires singers to sing a piece they have never seen before, a difficult feat in an already demanding audition.

“I would highly recommend all-state to chorus students who are looking to challenge themselves musically,” said chorus director Linda Searles. “The first audition is difficult, and in order to feel competent, a student would need to rehearse sight-reading, ear training, and have a solo prepared. If they have practiced these things, they have worked on skills that can only make them a better musician and singer.”

Understandably, the 30-minute audition is stressful for participants. Not only do they have to sing in front of a stranger in an unfamiliar place, they are also being judged on a series of strict criteria that determine their participation in the all-state competition. To combat their nerves, participants have developed some innovative ways to remain calm.

“I always get nervous at the auditions, especially the first one, which is the hardest because it really tests one’s musicianship,” said sophomore Lyric Christian, who has participated in All-State Chorus since seventh grade. “I overcome my nerves by waking up early the morning of the audition and practicing my solo and doing vocal warm-ups. Then, on the way in the car, I listen to music and talk to my parents to calm myself.”

“I tend to get very nervous before auditions, but I also love them,” said senior Sandy Sharis, who has participated in all-state since eighth grade. “To control my nerves, I tell myself that I have the skills to pass the audition, whether or not it’s true, and that it’s just a matter of showing the judges what I am capable of.”

“I think the most nerve-wracking part of the audition is when you’re in the waiting area,” said Conrad. “Everyone is in there practicing and talking and it can be pretty intimidating, but if you just find your friends and help each other it’s all right.”

Previous All-State Chorus members extol the multiple benefits of participation, including improving musical skills and making friends.

“All-state is a blast,” said Christian. “You get to meet like-minded people, work with some of the best conductors, and work on your musicianship.”

“I like how everyone who goes to all-state is so excited about it,” said Sharis. “Everyone is so happy to be there and we all love music, so we bond instantly. The second thing I really like is that each year it is different – there are different conductors, different music, and the singers may be in a different type of choir every year (men’s, women’s, or mixed). It’s such a great opportunity to experience each conductor’s teaching styles and get to know a repertoire you never would have known otherwise. Getting to know people through a common interest is fantastic, and I got to know some of my best friends through All-State Chorus.”

“If a student goes to all-state in Savannah in February, they will have an extraordinary musical experience,” said Searles. “They will have the opportunity to sing a repertoire that is challenging, and they will also have the opportunity to sing with some of the best high school singers in the state, make friends, and sing in a culminating concert.”

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