Hitting the Right Note:Joplin High School musicians travel to Osage Beach for an All-State Camp.

Isabelle St. Clair

Qualifying for All-State is competitive and merely a dream for high school musicians. But for five Joplin High School students, this dream became a reality.

The musicians first had to audition for the district level. The audition consisted of a sight reading test and a solo audition. On the day of the district concert, the musicians auditioned for All-State in which they were to sing their vocal part on top of a track with other vocal parts.   

“Auditions are very nerve racking. You never know what will happen to your music recording; you don’t know if it’ll speed up, or slow down. You’re constantly having a million thoughts go through your head about the music you’re singing,” said Katie Roush, senior. “But once you walk out of the audition room, you feel relieved that it’s over. And you can’t wait to hear the results.”

Only four qualifiers and two alternates for each voice part were allowed per Missouri district. Roush, Laura Anderson, Abby Brower and Lauren Ball, all seniors qualified for All-State Choir, and Nick Mailes, senior for All-State Jazz Band and Concert Band.

“When they announced my name at districts, I fell to my knees because I wasn’t expecting to make it. My family actually thought that I had tripped,” said Ball. “I was crying happy tears and I was standing up there with four of my friends as well. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

The All-State camp took place on Jan. 23-26 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO. Students were led by Dr. Anton Armstrong, director of a world-class choir at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

“I learned so much while I was there. I learned new techniques and pushed myself harder than I had before, said Ball. “I learned to think of music as more than merely notes and words on a page, but to look beyond the surface and see the beauty behind every single note.”

Though these students got to work and create friendships with over 190 other Missouri musicians, there were a few complications. On the first day of rehearsal, the entire area had no power; teachers held flashlights behind the choir so the students could read their music. Not only that, but a beam by the outdoor pool at the hotel had crashed down, shaking the dorm building and causing students to evacuate their damaged rooms.

 “One memory I really enjoy was eating lunch while the power was out, as strange as that may sound,” said Anderson. “A group of Joplin students and a few others were sitting around a table and we had our phones sitting on the table with the flashlights on. It was so much fun talking and laughing about not having power that it made eating in the dark really enjoyable.”

On Saturday, Jan. 26, the All-State choir held a concert for their parents, directors and people at the resort.

“I am just so honored to have had the opportunity to participate in All State. I am even more honored to have had some great girls by my side,” said Ball. “I just want to thank all of the teachers, administrators, chaperones, students, directors, musicians, and anyone else I missed for making that week possible. I learned so much and I will never forget it.”

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