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Students prepare for virtual state honor choir concerts

Posted Date: 03/01/2021

Every year, a select group of Royster Middle School vocal students have been chosen to be part of an honor choir and perform at the annual Kansas Music Educators workshop. Despite restrictions and COVID-19, teachers and KMEA organizers have created a way for these honor choirs to continue and perform this year.

Eighteen Royster Middle School students were chosen to sing with the KMEA All-State Middle Level Honor Choir or the Kansas Choral Director’s Treble Honor Choir.

Preparing for the audition process was similar to years past.mavery prepares to record her part in the choir's song

Audition music was learned and perfected and audition recordings made and submitted. Students were chosen, notified, honor choir music purchased and learned by the selected students, said Royster vocal music instructor Lance Burnett.

This year, though, instead of traveling to Wichita to rehearse as a group and perform, the students attended a mandatory virtual rehearsal. 

“At this point the similarities stopped and the adventure began,” Burnett said. “There was a group "zoom" rehearsal with the guest director and all of the selected students. They had the opportunity to work with the directors, and in their sections’ "break out rooms" with a different director.

Setting up the “recording studio” fell to the school’s music teachers.

Burnett scheduled a recording session for each student and walked through the procedure. He gave them ear buds to hear the music, told them to listen for the clicks that established the rhythm, then clap four times and begin singing.

The separate recordings were submitted to a company that is combining them into a finished performance that will be shown on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28.

“It’s been amazing to see the Kansas State Music Educators Association work so very hard to keep as many musical opportunities available to Kansas music students as possible,” Burnett said. “I can honestly say that the students who participated will never forget this year's all-state experience.”

Royster students selected to sing in the state KMEA Middle Level Honor Choir are Bella Barney, alto;rms students chosen for state honor choirs Josiah Bates, tenor; Tommy Beasley, tenor; Ethan Burnett, tenor; Mason Greve, bass; Ella Guernsey, alto; Mavery Herman, soprano; Colin Keating, tenor, Paige Kueser, soprano; Carly Mitchner, soprano; and Violet Stich, soprano.

The RMS students chosen for the state KCDA Treble Honor Choir are Paeton Ellis, alto;  Alto 2 Jakarre Green, alto;  Chloe Hill, alto; Laney Hillmon, soprano;  Anni O’Dell, soprano; Tracy Reeves, soprano; and Lani Stanfield, alto.

Due to copyright restrictions, all concerts will be broadcast one time and broadcast links provided to directors for the selected students. Performance recordings will be made available for online ordering.

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