Notes Rise Up

Band and Choir Students Advance to State

Senior Andrew Velarde practices for the All-State concert.

Christian Wynne

Henrique Arantes and Christian Wynne

They waited. One second after the other. All of the work they put in had now come to its purpose, but they knew their competition was good. Each minute waiting for the results felt like hours. The results finally came and band members, senior Andrew Velarde, Junior Christiana Ussery, and Sophomore Nicole Hines made the All-State band. Choir students, seniors Halle Lambert and Madison Klinkovsky and junior Emily Holloway made the All-State choir. 

Band and choir members who made All-State will prepare for their concerts from Feb. 9-12 in San Antonio for both of them.

“It was extremely exciting,” Velarde said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to compete at state. In the past years, I’ve gone to area, but I haven’t gone to state yet. This year being my senior year, it’s a very cool experience being able to go to San Antonio.”

Students started learning how to play their instruments and sing all the way back to elementary school with some learning since they were little.

“I started doing choir back at my old school in Rockwall back in 5th, 6th grade,” Klinkovsky said. “I moved here my sophomore year, and I made it to pre-area my sophomore and junior year. Then, [I was] moved to boys parts on tenor. I learned an entire new clef. The bass clef as well as treble clef for both parts and I made state.”

Students began learning their music at the beginning of the year with some taking part in different camps during the summer. They also took private lessons with their teachers to be able to progress.

“It started with chair tests back in October which started with master classes,” band director Weston Fisher said. “The chair test cuts we use for Lindale to decide our four bands is the music that the kids use for the All-State auditions for the first round in Dec. and for the second round in Jan., so we started way back in preparing for our kids for Lindale chair test in order to prepare them for regional, area, and state level auditions and TMEA All-Region process.”

Not only do students have a set schedule for preparation, they also have different tactics to be physically and mentally ready for auditions.

“I have like my own little regimen to get me prepared for this entire process,” Lambert said. “I take a lot of classes with my choir teacher. Mr. Baham because in my opinion, that has helped me so much. So I take not only choir, but I take applied music and AP music theory because all those weirdly enough go into my preparation for this process.  I [also] try to relax as much as I can and realize that while [making state] is such an amazing thing to do, it won’t be the end of the world if I don’t make it.”

For the students to qualify for All-State, they first audition for judges in the All-Region where they compete against other people from the same region. If they make the Region band and are qualified for Area, they compete again against a bigger area of Texas. 

“At Region and Area we have the same music,” Ussery said. “It’s the scales and then we play the two etudes but at all-state, they give us a cut of the music that will be playing in the band.”

Depending on the chair students make on Area, they are qualified for State. After they make State, they take another test to place the students in chair order.

“They worked really hard to do this and to make that accomplishment, but on the flip side of that coin, we’re also super proud of all the kids who made it that far to audition in that area level at all,” Fisher said. “ We had a lot of kids who got very close to making it, so we are not only super proud of the kids that did make it and that’s quite an accomplishment, but we are also really proud of just all of the kids that went and participated and were able to perform at that competition whether they made it or not. It’s a tough competition to just make it there but to make it to state is really difficult.”