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The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

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From Auditions to Applause

A look inside the 2024 Colorado All-State Choir experience
Melissa Howell
The five all-state students (Zoe Martinez, Isabel Howell, Jack Smith, Zach Bailey, and Peyton Siders) alongside Mr. Brown, pose for a picture after their state send off.

Just a few weeks ago, the Colorado All-State choir made their annual debut at the Buell Theater in downtown Denver. I was fortunate enough to be one of hundreds of high schoolers across the state who made it in, and the experiences I had were truly unforgettable. 

For the past 3 years, Frederick has had exactly 5 students who have made it into all-state. This year, I attended alongside four fellow seniors, including Peyton Siders, Zoe Martinez, Jack Smith, and Zach Bailey. Although we were in different choirs, the five of us made many memories and shared some incredible experiences over the weekend. 

Our adventure began at auditions, which took place in early October. The audition process is difficult and strenuous. After not making it last year, I was determined to make it this year, so I prepared for months in advance with my private voice teacher. We worked laboriously on sight singing, scales and triads, intervals, etc. Finally the day of the audition came. All the Frederick students warmed up and practiced together, and wished each other luck when their name was called for their audition. 

After a few weeks of anxious waiting, the results were in. The five students who made it received an exciting text from Mr. Brown, our choir teacher. All-state choir is highly competitive, with only about 25% of auditioning students actually making it, so making it in was a huge accomplishment. Soon after the news of our acceptance, we were given our music to work on for the next couple of months. 

Before we knew it, the day had come. We arrived at the school the morning of February 8 with our luggage in hand, our music (mostly) learned, and our hearts racing. We received a state send off from the whole school, and as soon as we left the building, we all piled into Mr. Brown’s car and rode over to Skyline, where we met up with all the other St. Vrain students, who we rode down with on 3 different buses. The entire ride down to Denver was filled with anticipation and last-minute memorization and preparations for the infamous second audition. Although we already made it into the choir, they hold a second audition to test your knowledge of your music.

After an afternoon of stress and anxiety, the five of us all passed the second audition; we were officially in. Dinner that night was a welcome treat after our endeavors of the day, and that night we had our very first rehearsal. For the next two days, we had hours of rehearsal time. At times it got exhausting and our voices got tired, but we pushed through and enjoyed our frequent, albeit short, breaks. 

The 2024 Colorado All-state treble choir, under the direction of Professor Jing Ling-Tam. Isabel Howell, Zoe Martinez, and Peyton Siders were the Frederick students in treble choir. Zach Bailey and Jack Smith were in mixed choir, under the direction of Dr. Rene Clausen, and the tenor-bass choir was directed by Mr. Victor C Johnson.

The night before the concert was the famed balcony sing, which was held in our hotel, the Embassy Suites in downtown Denver. The hotel has floors and floors of open balconies, which all the students packed on to, with our clinicians on the bottom floor, visible to all the singing students. Hotel staff, locals, family members, and friends crowded the lobby in anticipation. Each of the three choirs performed one of their songs. It was such a beautiful experience; being with hundreds of other high schoolers from across the state, most of whom we barely knew, or had just met a day ago, creating beautiful music. Videos of the balcony sing were posted on the Colorado All-State Choir instagram page, and one video even gained millions of views. 

All of the all state students gathered on the balconies at the Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Denver, preparing for the famed balcony sing. Crowds of people wait in anticipation down below in the lobby.

The last day was the concert. We performed onstage at the Buell Theater, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Each choir did an equally fantastic job and had some beautiful pieces they performed. 

All-state was such a unique and amazing experience; getting to make music with people I had just met, and touching the hearts of so many strangers in the audience. We learned valuable lessons from our clinicians, and grew so much as musicians. Although it was a difficult and tiring process, the experiences I had and the memories I made will last a lifetime, and I am so glad I had that opportunity. 

The proud Frederick students and Mr. Brown after their incredible concert at the Buell Theater.
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About the Contributor
Isabel Howell
Isabel Howell, Staff Writer
Isabel is a senior at FHS who is new to the Lantern staff. Isabel is one of the Frederick High thespian officers as well as a member of the Varsity Blue show choir and the Town of Frederick Youth Commission. When not performing onstage, singing, or writing, Isabel loves to spend time with friends and family, spend time outside, shop, and try new makeup looks. After high school, she plans to attend a four-year college in Utah to pursue a major related to communications or writing.

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