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Noteworth quintet:5 from Johnson County make cut for choir

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They auditioned with the best teens in the state.

About 500 students tried out to be members of the Indiana All-State Choir. Half of them made the cut, among them four Johnson County high school students and one from Roncalli.

They will join their peers for a show at the Indiana Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference in Fort Wayne in January.


Here is a look at their take on All-State Choir.

Emma Wilson

Franklin Community High School

A future music educator sees entry into the choir as a step on her career path.

Emma Wilson, a junior, wants to study music education in college. When she saw a chance to audition for one of the state’s top choirs, she decided to rehearse and get ready.

Wilson practiced the song at least three times a week for a month and worked on sight-reading from her piano.

“(Being chosen) is a pretty big deal,” she said.

Caleb Hicks

Franklin Community High School

Caleb Hicks, a senior, was chosen for the fourth year in a row.

His first year as an all-state member was time consuming, he said. Students who audition must learn a piece of music selected by the judges and then sing by sight-reading a piece of music they have never seen before, he said.

The sight-reading portion of the audition causes the most anxiety, as those poor at sight-reading could stumble on a harder piece, he said.

“It’s random rhythm and notes that you have to sing without ever looking at it.”

But, the difficult audition process is what makes being a member better, he said.

Teens chosen are always talented, Hicks said.

“There is nothing like it in the entire state,” he said.

Sarah Bennett

Franklin Community High School

Franklin Community High School sophomore Sarah Bennett will be a rookie for the all-state choir.

She heard about the choir through her music teacher and wanted to audition. But she knew she would have to be ready to face the talent of the choir, she said.

She spent at least 15 minutes a day working on the audition song and brushing up on sight-reading.

Bennett had an advantage during the auditions. The all-state choir audition song was one she knew from school.

Plus, her sight-reading skills have been honed from piano lessons, and her choral skills have been developed in advanced high school choirs.

She said All-State choir will give her a chance to meet veterans who can help improve her skills.

“I am looking to learn from the people who have done it multiple years in a row,” she said.

Haley Bohland

Greenwood Community High School

When senior Haley Bohland decided to audition for a third year in a row, she thought of the quality of music and how much she had learned in the two previous years.

Music directors from colleges across the country work with the high school students and direct the concert they sing in. Those skills compelled her to audition again, she said.

“There is so much diversity. I love meeting everyone who has so much talent,” Bohland said.

Working with the best in the state makes her want to rehearse more and improve her own skills, something she will need if she’s going to pursue a music minor in college, she said.

“(All-state) has made me a better singer overall,” she added.

Beth MCKay

Roncalli High School                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Roncalli High School senior Beth McKay said she continued to audition because she wants to be surrounded by students as passionate as her. She is starting her second year as an all-state choir member.

She takes choir at Roncalli, but some students take the elective merely to get a fine arts credit at her school.

At all-state, everyone wants to be there as much as she does, she said.

“We all love singing,” McKay said. “There are so many of us; the sound blows me away.”

All-state choir members from across the state will get together for one day to rehearse. Students already have the music and have been working on it on their own, McKay said.

Singers from each district will get together for a few rehearsals before joining the entire choir.

“It’s this amazing sound we are bringing to the audience,” she said.

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