Orchestra and choir students from all across the state gathered in Richardson on Jan. 23 to 25 for the Texas Private School Music Educators Association (TPSMEA) Choir and Orchestra Clinic and Concert.
TPSMEA is an organization founded in 1992 for Music Educators across Texas to “promote excellence in music education.” The clinic they offer every year brings musicians from across the state to perform together after two days of practice and clinics.
Abi Poe, Hockaday’s Director of Choral Activities, and Charlsie Griffiths ‘98, Hockaday’s Director of Orchestra Music, said the process is highly selective.
“As many as 800-900 recordings are submitted, and only those of the top in the state are invited to sing,” Poe said.
This year, Hockaday had more students chosen than in the year prior.
“This is a very strong showing from an all-girls’ school, especially as the number of female auditionees is higher for the same amount of spots as male voices,” Poe said.
Students are given music over the summer, and students who want to audition for All-State begin studying the music. For orchestra, each student plays and is recorded and the recording is submitted online. For choir, the process is similar, just the recording is of the soloist singing. A panel of judges then receives the recordings, ranks the students and a select number are accepted into All-State.
Once selected, students are given the music for the All-State festival. They prepare the music as well as they can before the concert weekend. They rehearse in both sections and in a full choir or orchestra, and they work to perfect the music with the guest conductor or clinician. After two days of practice, the students perform a 45-minute long program for guests on Saturday evening.
Senior Kirsten Kirk, who was a part of the All-State choir for the second time, said that she was “super proud of everyone (especially underclassmen) that tried out!” For Kirsten, Hockaday Choir is a place to solely focus on music and the people around her, surrounded by people like her family.
Sophomore Julia Luo said her experiences at All-State were exciting and her overall orchestra experience was positive.
“It was such a fun experience because of the amazing clinician/conductor and all the people I was able to meet,” Luo said.
Senior Kathryn Bowers said the experience at All-State was a bit different for her because she plays the oboe. The oboe is considered a band instrument, so she was a member of All-State Band. She rehearsed separately but was just another member of the group there from orchestra, choir, band and jazz band. She found the experience playing with so many people from all over the state brought people together.
“Overall, it was a bonding experience between those who go and also an opportunity to connect with talented players from other schools,” Bowers said.
To Luo, performing at All-State Orchestra meant a lot, especially as orchestra has transitioned from being an outside-of-class activity to having its own class block.
“It is an honor to be a part of All-State Orchestra,” Luo said. “Being able to make it in and play with some of the best musicians in the state was amazing, and I was just really happy to be there with all my friends and meet new people from all across the state.”
Here is the list of All-State participants with their respective sections and instruments.
- Kathryn Bowers ‘21 (oboe)
- Charlene Brzesowsky ‘20 (viola)
- Liya Chen ‘23 (cello)
- Faith Choi ‘21 (cello)
- Madeline Chun ‘23 (viola)
- Dora Cosic ‘22 (violin)
- Lynn Jung ‘21 (clarinet)
- Kyulee Kim ‘22 (flute)
- Julia Luo ‘22 (violin)
- Anoushka Singhania ‘20 (bass)
- Sidney Wang ‘20 (violin)
- Mia Xia ‘21 (cello)
- Riley Yan ‘23 (violin)
- Sienna Ellis ‘22
- Sarah Beth Kelton ‘20
- Kirsten Kirk ‘20
- Sidney Kronbach ‘22
- Madeline Sumrow ‘22
Story by Libby Hill
Photo provided by Abi Poe