The School Newspaper of West Brook High School

Choir Sings Their Hearts Out at Pre-Area

December 14, 2017

Choir members depart for the Pre-Area competition. Photo by David Williams.

Choir members depart for the Pre-Area competition. Photo by David Williams.

Choir members depart for the Pre-Area competition. Photo by David Williams.

Members of the West Brook Choir competed at the Pre-Area stage, or 2nd round, of the Texas All-State audition process at Lumberton High School on Nov. 30.

“[The All-State process] is comprised of about 25,000 students throughout Texas,” choir director Jimmy Robertson said. “By January, just a few thousand are in the process and are hoping for a chair in the All-State Choir. This process is heavily competitive and demands the students’ full dedication.”

Because of its competitiveness, Robertson encourages his students to practice everyday so as not to let their rivals get ahead of them. In order to prepare for the audition, there are certain aspects of the music that students must perfect.

“I play the CD back, and I make sure I have all my notes down,” senior Kamryn Yates said. “Then, once I have that, I go back over the music and work on dynamics, consonants, and little nitpicky things to ensure that I get chosen for the next round.”

Practicing the music was only the beginning of the process; the auditioners then had to attempt to reap the benefits of their hard work on the day of the competition. Once they arrived at Lumberton High School, there were certain steps and rules that they had to follow before auditioning.

“For 2nd round, you’ll go and retrieve a number,” Yates said. “Each voice part has different judges. The region edits the music beforehand to where you only sing a ‘cut’, or a portion, of each song.”

When a contestant’s number is called, that person goes to the designated room for their voice part room and sings the cuts behind a curtain for the five judges in the room. The same is done for the sight-reading portion of the audition. There was a unifying factor amongst all of the competitors: the nerves.

“​This was my first time going to Pre-Area,” sophomore Connor Cummings said. “My audition was pretty frightening because I was the first to sing for baritones, and I was diagnosed with bronchitis a few days before. I was still pretty sick by the time I had to audition. I’d say I enjoyed my experience despite that and that I was pretty shocked to make alternate since I personally felt like I auditioned better at Round 1.”

One might contribute the nerves that Cummings felt to his being a “first-timer.” That was simply not the case; veteran competitors felt anxiety as well.

“​This was my 3rd time to go,” senior Erin Brewer said. “​I was confident before the audition, but I tend to get really anxious and not perform as well when it comes time to sing. ​

Overall, I felt good about my audition. However, I was pretty nervous when I sang and knew I didn’t sight-read perfectly, so I was really excited when I found out I’d made it.”

The following students(excluding alternates) will advance to Area auditions in January which determines who makes it into the All-State Choir:

Erin Brewer(Senior, Soprano 1, 2nd chair)

Connor Cummings(Sophomore, Bass 1, 2nd alternate)

Sara Gazaway(Senior, Alto 1, 3rd chair)

Elizabeth Gonzales(Sophomore, Alto 1, 2nd alternate)

Nicolas Gregory(Senior, Bass 1, 1st chair)

Emmanuel Grendeza(Senior, Tenor 2, 3rd chair)

Kathryn Huff(Sophomore, Soprano 2, 2nd alternate)

Andrew Kolp(Junior, Bass 2, 3rd chair)

Miguel Magtaan(Senior, Bass 1, 3rd chair)

Brandon Marshall(Sophomore, Bass 1, 4th chair)

Lauren Medina(Junior, Soprano 2, 4th chair)

Hope Msengi(Sophomore, Soprano 1, 4th chair)

Jessica Palmer(Senior, Soprano 1, 2nd alternate)

Travis Reed(Junior, Bass 2, 4th chair)

Isabella Rey(Sophomore, Alto 2, 5th chair)

Douglas Stone(Junior, Tenor 1, 2nd chair)

Quinton Washington(Senior, Bass 2, 5th chair)

David Williams(Senior, Bass 2, 1st chair)

Kiana Williams(Senior, Soprano 2, 2nd chair)

Nicholas Williams(Junior, Tenor 2, 1st alternate)


“These were some of our best results we’ve ever had,” Robertson said.

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