Students perform at All-State Youth Honor Chorus

Ten College Place students earned the opportunity to participate.


COLLEGE PLACE -- A group of College Place students have something to sing about -- and be proud of.

Ten district students recently performed as part of the Washington Music Educators Association All-State Youth Honor Chorus. They were among 150 young singers from across the state who performed during the WMEA annual convention last month in Yakima, said ReNae Davis, music teacher for College Place Public Schools.

Davis said she has encouraged students to audition for the prestigious choir for several years. Students apply by making an audition tape that showcases their abilities while singing a particular song, demonstrating rhythm and beat by clapping and doing general vocal exercises.

Davis said hundreds of students from across the state audition each year. Having College Place Public Schools represented with 10 singers was a particular honor.

"It is amazing," Davis said. "We have some great kids."

Sixth-graders Sadie Flores, Anya Griggs, Joyful Opara, Kenneth Rooks, Hannah Rickords, Rachel Rowley, Alyssa Shenefield, Grayson Taylor and Naddile Widner were all part of the Youth Honor Chorus, made up of fifth- and sixth-grade students. Madison Garrett, an eighth-grader at Sager Middle School, participated in the All-State mixed choir.

The students met and performed Feb. 18 at The Capitol Theatre in Yakima during the WMEA convention. The WMEA sponsors several all-state honor groups based on age and ensembles. The Youth Honor Chorus was the youngest group of performers.

Davis said on the audition tapes, students had to sing "America" (My Country 'Tis of Thee) a cappella and in a particular key; clap out rhythms to show sight-reading ability, and perform a vocal warm-up. Davis used a laptop from home to record the students and help them with their submissions. Almost all of the students she encouraged to apply were accepted.

"It's a ton of extra work, but it's a wonderful opportunity for them," she said.

Audition tapes were submitted in the fall, and the students got word of their acceptance and were practicing by December. The students worked over two months, taking time out of their days to prepare for last month's performance.

Davis said the chance to participate in the honor programs is a great experience that can also go on student's college applications.

"It's almost like the highly capable program for musicians," Davis said.


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