Students participate in KMEA All-State Choirs

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This year’s KMEA All-State Choir participants traveled to Wichita on Feb. 21 for rehearsals and a performance on the afternoon of Feb. 23 at Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center.

This was the first year that KMEA split their High School Honor Choir into two so they could accommodate more students. It used to be that there were only 512 students from across the state who were accepted, but the newly added Treble Choir brought in 256 more students.

This was senior Hannah McGuire’s second year being accepted into State Choir, and she said she was excited to once again be among the most talented choir students in the state.

“It’s so awesome to get to be surrounded by so many good voices and hear how the music sounds when it’s all together,” McGuire said.

She loves how making music together can help people come out of their shells. One of McGuire’s favorite songs from last year was an African gospel-style song that included a bit of choreography.

“It was so cool to see everyone being themselves and just dancing without caring what other people thought,” McGuire said.

Bryan Ayala, a sophomore from Chanute High School, said that he’s not used to hearing the power of a strong section of male voices because he lives in such a small town.

He said that along with getting to sing with other students who were in his element, he loved the music. Even if you can’t understand the language the song is written in, he said that shouldn’t stop you from listening.

“I could feel the energy of the music and how it’s supposed to make you feel,” Ayala said.

Senior Brett Bowles said that being a part of State Choir is an honor, and that he saw his experience as his “last hoorah.”

He said his favorite parts weren’t necessarily the music the choir performed.

“I love to go down to the hotel lobby with friends and gather around a table playing cards and having fun together,” Bowles said. “It’s not just about learning how to sing really challenging pieces here at State, but it’s about getting to bond with the people you’re doing it all with.”

Andrew Windish, a senior from Andover High School, loves State Choir because of the insight that new directors bring every year.

“One of the instructors last year showed me a lot of new things that I didn’t really think about singing, so it’s been more of an educational experience than anything else,” Windish said.

Windish said his favorite songs from the State lineup were the ones that brought the impact of organized chaos.

“I really enjoy it when each section of a song goes off and does their own thing [during a song],” Windish said. “It’s kind of a mess from an outside view until all the voice parts come together at the end.”

If being a part of All-State Choir is a goal for you, the current participants all agree that the more you know in your audition, the better off you’ll be.

“I know a lot of people just go into their audition and wing it thinking they’ll be fine, but if you really want to get into All-State, you want to know all of the little details and have it all down so you can really stand out among the other people auditioning,” McGuire said.

Since the State cuts come from the District auditions, Bowles said to be mindful about your audition and find the way to prepare that works best for you.

“Work with a vocal instructor or keep comparing your audition to other good musicians’ auditions to find out how to make the song the best that you can make it,” Bowles said. “Go in there with a positive attitude and just give it your all.”