Eleven Highlanders make all-state choirs


Courtesy of Patrick Newcombe

The choir students that advanced: (l to r) Bottom row in green: Rhett Hollier, Kayla Lewis, Emma Barnard, Claire Persyn, Greta Lamb and Sophia Hickman-Chow – back row in red: Maren Eaton, Santino Hallare, McClain Weaver, Wiley Sadlier and Tyler Hedgepeth.

The final round of the Choir All-State process selected 11 TWHS students. The singers competed in four rounds against other students, including the area round, last Sunday at TWHS. Eleven breaks the record for number of students advancing to All-State in a single year. Of those students, Emma Barnard, Sophia Hickman-Chow, Kayla Lewis, and Claire Persyn made All-State treble Choir; Maren Eaton, Santino Hallare, Greta Lamb, and Wiley Sadlier made all-state mixed choir; and Tyler Hedgepeth, Rhett Hollier, and McLain Weaver made all-state tenor/bass choir.

The choir put so much time and energy into their auditions and most practiced in choir class, as well as attending optional rehearsals every day after school since the beginning of the school year. Many students have been working on their music since summer due to the difficulty of the music, some of which was sung in other languages. Junior Sophia Hickman Chow, who made the All-State Treble Choir said that she enjoyed singing a French piece with three movements and called the piece “gorgeous.”

Teamwork is essential for choir members when preparing for auditions.

“I sit with my close friends in a practice room and critique their singing and give them constructive feedback,” senior Maren Eaton said. “During all-state, help was also super important, and we frequently practiced together in larger groups, like 3-4 people. [In class,] I help the people next to me with sight reading or with pitches and rhythms and sometimes I’ll ask questions there too.”

The process also allows the students to meet new singers and form close friendships with them. For example, senior Santino Hallare, who wants to major in musical theater in college, enjoys meeting and interacting with singers from other schools. Hallare said that he “made a lot of friendships through [the All-State] process.”

Another student who enjoyed the process is junior and Tenor/Bass singer Rhett Hollier who commented that “everyone that auditioned regardless of when their audition process came to an end worked hard and I am so lucky to call these incredible musicians and performers my peers.”

In February, the Texas Music Educators Association will have a convention in San Antonio.