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Mr. Hirsh Talks All-State Choir

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Q: What is All-State Choir?

A: All-State choir is a group of students selected throughout the state of Colorado and what we are aiming to do is find the most advanced choral musicians in the state. I’m on the board so I can speak a little into the process. What happens is students from choral programs throughout the state will audition. They all do the same audition in all areas of the state.We have a panel of 10 Judges that travel around to judge auditions and keep it consistent and they score the students and then out of the thousands of students that audition there are about 500 to 600 that are selected and those students are divided into an All-State Men’s choir, women’s choir, and mixed choir. So then if students are selected then we order music for the students. They learn the music entirely on their own and go to All-State choir this first weekend of February and once they are there they have to pass a second audition when they arrive just to prove they learned their music. So they have to go and sing parts of their music correctly from memory, then if they pass all that then boom they are part of the All-State choir. They get to spend the weekend in Denver with a clinician. It is usually someone from out of state who is a top notch choral director and then they rehearse with that clinician over the weekend and then on Saturday afternoon they get to perform their concert at the Buell theater at the Denver Performing Arts Center.

Q: How do you get into All-State?

A: The Audition has multiple components. 50 percent of your score is a prepared solo. So students will just need to prepare a solo, whether it is a English folk song, Italian arts song, or something in German or French. It has to be classical in nature. The other things include singing scales, tirades, and intervals which checks your music theory knowledge. And then they read two melodies and a rhythm as well. And those other things comprise the other 50 percent of the score.

Q: What do you do during All-State?

A: Well I am on the board, so some of my work is preparatory. We have board meetings starting over the summer periodically to plan out the next years All-State and any changes we need to make and arrangements about auditions or the event itself. During the weekend, I remember last year, I was just running around the place because we used a new hotel with a new performance venue and a new rehearsal space. And so all the little details we didn’t think of slipped through the cracks, so I was running around to fix them on the spot. But hopefully this year I will get to do a little more observing of the clinicians and staying with the choir I am assigned to support as a board member. This year I am assigned to the All-State women’s choir.

Q: What is the impact of All-State Choir?

A: I think All-State Choir is quite an incredible experience for students. When I was in High School I was actually a Trumpet player. I auditioned for All-State band, and for me that was the event that solidified may decision to do music in some capacity with the rest of my life. Of course I chose to go the teaching route, but it is amazing what happens when a huge group of students come together that are both solid musicians that are well prepared and incredibly passionate about music, and directed by an outstanding director. Something amazing happens, it is very inspiring for students. So that is my hope for this year of students as well, whether they take up music as a career or not, it is an empowering experience for them.

Q: What do you think about All-State Jazz Choir since you just went to it last week.

A: That was great. It was the first time we had a student go to All-State Jazz Choir in along time from this school. I don’t know the last time a student was accepted. It was very good. They had three separate choirs as well, a men’s, women’s, and a mixed. All those clinicians were from professional Jazz groups and they were a Manhattan transfer. So it was very exciting to see these professional musicians working with the high school students, and they put on a fabulous concert last week. They will actually get to perform for All-State choir this coming weekend as well as an exposition of the Jazz choir, like, hey here is our concert and will perform the whole set again for All-State choirs Friday.

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Mr. Hirsh Talks All-State Choir