The All-State Experience

Here is an insider’s look at an All-State Music Festival


The Mixed Choir, led by Dr. Powell, performs during the CHSAA Colorado All State Choir 2022 Festival.

Joshua Bailey, Editor in Chief

The Colorado CHSAA All-State Choir festival just wrapped up recently. While you may have seen videos of the balcony performance or the concert at the Buell Theatre, here is a behind-the-scenes look from my journey at All-State 2022.

My journey started at tryouts. Typically, several thousand high schoolers all across the state of Colorado try out for All-State. Participating in All-State Choir is a prestigious honor since only around 600 singers are accepted. Remarkably, five Frederick singers were accepted into All State.

Consequently, my audition was nerve-racking, as I needed to display mastery of music theory, technique, and composure in front of an evaluator. The audition consisted of sight-reading, scales, triads, and a performed song. Despite a strong audition, I didn’t think I stood a chance at acceptance. However, a few weeks later I was notified that a few of my peers and I would be heading to Denver–we made it in!

Early on Thursday morning, January 20th, my fellow choir students and I loaded onto a bus headed for Denver. Despite making it through the first cut of auditions, we had second auditions in Denver to ensure that we had practiced and memorized our music. Memorization was no easy task–three of my six songs were written in foreign languages: Spanish, German, and Russian. The Russian piece, in particular, was a challenge–letters I didn’t recognize and unfamiliar words were supposed to be sung in quick succession. Needless to say, it took several hours of repetition to finally master all of the songs. However, it was worth it in the end. I ended up passing the second audition.

The following few days were spent at the Embassy Suites in Denver. One of the neat features of the hotel was an open balcony on the interior that stood thirteen floors up. We would soon take advantage of the balcony when all the singers spread out among the floors and sang songs on Friday night.

I shared a room with Tyler Spotts and Micah Wittler, both of whom were Frederick singers. Bethany Parker also attended as the only female singer to represent Frederick. The weekend featured loads of singing–it was probably the most I had sung in the span of two days. Friday in particular included six hours of rehearsal. Thursday and Saturday entailed two hours and four hours respectively. It was also nice to just chill in Denver. I would walk the streets with Micah, or find places to eat by the 16th Street Mall. Denver really is a cool place.

The best part of All-State was coming close with tons of people that shared a love of singing with me. At first, everyone was a stranger, apart from friends of both middle school and elementary school that I reunited with. But as our songs improved, the music really brought us together. Our mixed choir director–Dr. William Powell(professor at Auburn University)–taught us masterful techniques and musical strategies that brought life to each piece. As our musical skills flourished, the singers grew closer together as well. Singing brought a sense of community to all of us.

The culmination of the weekend was the performance at the Buell Theater. More than 2,000 supporters were in attendance for the concert. As cliche as it sounds, it was a magical performance. The songs were powerful, as hundreds of high schoolers all sang moving pieces with both passion and emotion. The crowd of 2000+ were thrilled and fascinated by the awe-inspiring show.

For me personally, I loved every moment of it. Even though it was stressful, tough, and challenging, I am so glad that I endured. In the end, it was worth it. I believe that everyone should do the same—push yourselves to the highest level, no matter what your craft may be. The sense of accolmplishment you’ll feel is like nothing else.