Students perform in All-State Chorus

By Jeff Smith

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Left to right, Holden Stach, Kylie Null, Jaime Kessler, Tori Lind, Jessica Welu and Jaydon Rogers dressed up for the 2017 Grand Concert.

Five Hill City High School students performed with more than 1,000 of some of the most talented vocal and instrumental musicians at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on Oct. 28. The event  was the Grand Concert and is the largest interscholastic high school music activity held in South Dakota.

The Hill City vocal students that went were Kylie Null, Jaydon Rogers, Holden Stach, Tori Lind and Jessica Welu.

Sophomore Jaydon Rogers thought that they were louder than everybody else.

The 2017 All-State Chorus included 932 singers representing 148 South Dakota high schools.

“Since we are a small chorus we have to be loud. When we get with all these other people who were in large choirs they were pretty quiet,” sophomore Jaydon Rogers said.

Jaime Kessler, K-12 vocal music instructor went with the students and said it was great.

“It was nice to actually get there and be at the event,” Kessler said.

This year is Kessler’s third year as the vocal instructor for the school district. She said her goal as a teacher is to get students to be successful in music.

“Whether that is going to All-State or whether it is singing a solo for the first time or just performing with the choir,” Kessler said.

Junior Jessica Welu said the venue was a lot bigger than what they are used to.

“The director was really energetic and funny,” sophomore Kylie Null said.

Dr. Tim Seelig conducted the All-State Chorus. Null said he made the experience fun.

The students agreed that he was professional and an all-around good guy.

It’s a lot of work to get to where they can perform at All-State. They auditioned in the spring and then practice to the middle of summer to the end of October.

“It’s a long time,” Welu said.

Senior Tori Lind said once they get there it’s about a day and a half of rehearsals. There are 13 hours of practice the day before the concert.

There are some nice breaks, though, too.

Welu said they went out to eat a lot and went to the mall and Scheels.

“It wasn’t just singing; it was fun too,”  Lind said.

They got to meet other students from around the state too. There were a few students they knew from other musical events.

The school brought one quartet. It’s not a lot compared to other schools who might have four or five. Schools in South Dakota are limited to the number of quartets they can bring compared to their school size.

Students audition through singing a couple scales and an etude.

Auditions are recorded and sent to other music educators in the state. The students get selected through various instructors.

Everybody but Lind, who is graduating, is going to audition and hopefully go to All-State next year.

The fall middle school and high school choir concert will be Dec. 7, 7 p.m. at the Hill City high school theater.

Right now the students are preparing for the concert.

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