Three Magnolia High School (MHS) Choir students have been selected to advance to the Texas Music Educators Association Area Audition in Waco Jan. 11.
Juniors Kevin Collins, Cameron Stokes and Glendie Cornelison auditioned at pre-area, along with three other MHS students to earn a place in Area.
"Area is the final audition for the TMEA All-State choir," choir director Jennifer Franz-Melady said. "All-state choir is the top 500-600 singers in the state out of the 15,000-20,000 who audition. If you pass the audition, they take four of each voice part for the mixed choir and then they take five of each voice part for the men's and women's choir."
The voice parts in men's choir range from Tenor 1, the highest voice part, to Bass 2, the lowest voice part. Collins is a Tenor 2, which is the high side of the middle range, while Stokes is a Bass 2. The voice parts for women range from Soprano 1, the highest, to Alto 2, the lowest. Cornelison is a Soprano 2, the high side of the middle range.
To advance to Area, choir students must get through a series of auditions at district, region and pre-area. The top 50 singers at district advance to region, where it is then cut down to the top 20. The top 20 are the students who advance to pre-Area to audition for a spot in the top 5.
"It's always individual, in front of five judges," Franz-Melady said. "At district, students have to learn five pieces for the first round and then they go into the audition and sing roughly a minute and a half of each piece. They don't know what part they have to sing until they audition."
After district, students were given another set of music that they had to learn and perfect in 4-5 weeks for region. When they pass the rounds at region, they will be in the region mixed choir, advancing to the pre-area auditions.
"In my opinion, pre-area is the hardest audition because they only take five out of 20 people," Stokes said. "People go to all-state camps over the summer to help prepare for it."
According to Franz-Melady, for pre-area auditions, students have to take three music pieces from the 10 they have to learn and do two minutes of each piece. Then they have to sight read music written for the audition. The student is given 30 seconds to practice and then they have to sing it in front of five judges behind a screen.
"In July, we had to learn all of our all-state music, which included pieces in German, Latin and English," Collins said. "In auditions, it's basically about how good you sound, if you were accurate and how good of a sight reader you are. The best of the 20 make it to Area – they take the top five and two alternates."
Cornelison is one of the alternates chosen to go to Area. In order for Cornelison to audition at Area, two people would have to drop out. Collins and Stokes, however, are guaranteed to audition.
"We're singing at Carnegie Hall in New York City in April," Franz-Melady said. "We were chosen by college professors. I've been a choir teacher for 28 years, 10 years at MHS and these kids know what they're doing. They're really good."
"Being an all-stater is the biggest honor in the choir world," Collins said. "This is my first year making it. Cameron, Glendie and I have all been in choir since elementary school, but it wasn't anything like this. This is as good as it gets."