This past Saturday, October 20th, six Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School students attended the North Central District All-State Auditions at Hampton-Dumont High School. The involved students included a quartet: Cortney Crozier, Breanna Schlichtmann, Aaron Shouse, and Braden Heithoff, and two soloist: Shelby Yates, and Rebecca Franksain. These students, accompanied by their choir director, Mrs. Amanda Bridges, prepared themselves for the day by meeting at the high school at 6:45 a.m. for a quick warm-up before hitting the road around 7:30 a.m.
When they arrived at 9:00 a.m., the entire school was a bustle of high school students. All over the gym, there were hundreds and hundreds of students that filled the bleachers and every open area of the gym floor. Everywhere you turned, there was either someone in the corner vocally practicing, or instrumental cries from the woodwinds, to the brass choir, to the dooming drums. It was a frenzy to say the least, and boy, was there a lot of competition to go up against!
If accepted into All-State, you join a choir of the 600 most esteemed high school performers across Iowa. That narrows down to 150 soprano, alto, tenor, and bass spots. Then subgrouping narrows down to I and II parts, leaving seventy-five openings for each voice part.
If you think those odds are small-try dividing that number amongst six districts in Iowa. And believe it or not-those 600 singers are picked out of 6,000 auditions! By now, you're probably catching my drift that it isn't easy to be chosen for the All-State choir.
The auditioning process consisted of a seven minute warm-up, followed by a seven minute audition between the performer(s) and one judge. No other person is allowed in the room during auditions, unless you are a fellow high school student who will be playing pitches on the piano for the performer(s). At 5:00 a.m. on the day of performance, the choir director is notified of what parts of the seven songs the students will be singing. When you enter the room, you simply open your binder, pluck your starting pitch, open your mouth, and pray for the best from there on out. You continue through your binder until you've performed all selected sections. The judge then rates you in four categories, each ranking from 1-10, and is totaled to your number over 40 total points.
Deliberation takes place after all people have performed, generally starting at 1:00 p.m. During this time, it is our understanding that all the judges gather, select the students who scored perfectly (40/40) or pretty near close to be automatically accepted into the choir. From there on, if there are still openings for your voice part, they will select students to be recalled. In this situation, you will perform different selected portions of the music, and go through the same auditioning process as mentioned before.
Our Gladbrook-Reinbeck students were very disappointed when they found out that none of them had been accepted or recalled. However, the students are taking a positive outlook on the situation. They all are looking forward to attending the NIACC Honor Choir on Monday, November 5th, in Mason City, where they will be given the opportunity to perform their prepared All-State music with all students of the North Central District who took part in the auditioning process, whether they were accepted or not. For those students who still have the opportunity to audition again next year, they are getting more information about attending an All- State music camp over this upcoming summer. This experience has opened their eyes to all their potential and opportunities available to them in the future!