BJ Students Perform at All-State Choral Festival

Casey Kula, Writer

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This past Saturday, seventeen BJHS chorus students performed at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama with other students from across the state. The students from Bob Jones who went to perform include Aurora Heath, Carolina Mooring, Casey Kula, Dallon Phipps, David McDaniel, Sierra Frazier, Jillian Nance, JoAnne Stevens, Nathan Smith, Maddie Shrode, Michaela Philip, Morgan Cure, Suzie Glover, Regan Harris, Natalie Tidwell, Michael Nichols, and Jahi Jacobs-El.

These students auditioned for three different very challenging choirs last November. The auditions were a long and rigorous process that required considerable preparation time and dedication. Seven auditioned for SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, & Bass), six auditioned for SSA (Soprano 1, Soprano 2, & Alto), and three auditioned for TTBB (Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Bass 1, & Bass 2).

To prepare for the audition process, each student had to learn six to eight pieces of music not knowing which section of each song they had to sing for auditions. The music takes weeks of preparation before auditions, and every piece of music is challenging in its own way.

These seventeen students had many reasons for auditioning, from learning more about music to their love of singing. Sophomore Sierra Frazier stated, ”I love getting the music for the first time and not liking it at first because it’s hard, and then falling in love with it because I realize that I actually have the ability to learn these tough pieces. I love the preparation for it and love how accomplished I felt when I found out I made it. Then going to the actual festival is just a whole different treat.”

Senior Morgan Cure also did All-State to challenge herself, “I auditioned for All-State to learn challenging literature, to push myself, and because I love music!”

Morgan Cure also auditioned for Outstanding Choral Student of Alabama at the regional and state level and was announced the OCS winner for District 5. To be eligible, Morgan sang a solo selection in front of judges and compiled an Outstanding Choral Student Resume.

This resume had to contain vocal/choral organizations Morgan has been a part of in the past, music related honors, an essay describing what her choral experience means to her, and letters of recommendation, which took a lot of preparation to compile information for her resume and to sing in front of the judges.

The All-State students traveled to Birmingham on Thursday morning, as their first rehearsal was early. Each of the choruses had a selected conductor that have many grand achievements.

Director of Choral Activity at West Orange High School, Winter Garden, Florida, Jeffery Redding was the conductor for SATB chorus, Tennessee Tech Choral Director Dr. Craig Zamer conducted the TTBB chorus, and University of Alabama Choral Director Andrew Minear conducted the SSA chorus.

The selected students practiced over fifteen hours on Thursday and Friday to equip for their performance the next day. It took long hours and many sore throats, but in the end, the performance went smoothly. Sophomore Jahi Jacobs-El was one of the few who also sang a solo for one of the SATB songs. Many people auditioned for these solos, and it is hard to obtain one.

Singing at the All-State Choral Festival was a very inspiring and meaningful event for many of these students. Morgan Cure stated, “The best thing about All-State is the blessing of being able to sing with other talented singers all across the stage who love music.”
Sierra Frazier finally added, ”You go there knowing it’s not going to be like a regular choir class, and that you’re going to be surrounded by people who have worked their butts off to be there just like you did. And to go there knowing that, means you’re going to go knowing you’re about to make some beautiful music that can never be replicated to be that way again. It is an extraordinary and unique experience.”

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