High note: Local students selected for All-Region Choir
Berryville and Green Forest high schools had several students ace their auditions for All-Region Choir on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Siloam Springs.
Madelyn Smalley, Dustin Pimentel, Kevin Solorzano, Julien Moehr, Mason Dunham and Sam Holtkamp of Green Forest were all selected for the All-Region Mixed Choir, which makes them automatically eligible to audition for the All-State Choir in February. Mya Galvan and Jadine Biggs of Green Forest were selected for the All-Region Treble Choir, which makes them alternates to audition for All-State Choir in February.
Choir director Amelia Duarte-Black said the students started preparing on the first day of school.
“Some of them got the music this summer,” she said. “It was really exciting to see so many selected for All-Region Choir. This is my third time having kids qualify for All-State auditions. Dustin is a senior, and this his third time to go to All-State auditions.”
Duarte-Black continued, “Last year was the first time I had girls qualify. It’s a lot easier for boys because there’s less competition. I am unbelievably proud of all my students that participated in the auditions.”
Galvan said she and the other students felt nervous going into the auditions.
“We practiced for like a month before the auditions,” Solorzano said. “It was pretty fun once we got there.”
“It was fun being with a group of people who all love to sing,” Moehr said.
Pimentel said it’s a bit intimidating going to All-State auditions for the third time.
“On one hand, you have so much leverage because you have so much more experience than everyone else,” he said, “but at the same time you’re more nervous that you won’t make it after making it in the past.”
The students said they are looking forward to participating in the All-Region Choir Clinic and auditioning for All-State Choir.
“I was surprised we did so well,” Solorzano said.
“It was fun to succeed in something,” Moehr said.
“I’m excited to be going,” Dunham said, “and to have the experience.”
Hannah Blitz will be representing the Berryville Choir at the All-Region Choir Clinic on Saturday, Nov. 3, in Bentonville.
Blitz said students have all summer to review the music for All-Region auditions, but the Berryville Choir students weren’t able to get ahold of it until the first day of school because they got a new choir director. She said she was surprised to hear she was selected for All-Region Choir.
“Honestly, I was sitting there and had to read the email five times over,” Blitz said. “It felt really nice.”
Choir students Rebecca Romine and Hannah Hurt said the audition process for All-Region was an all-day affair.
“We got there at like 8:30 a.m., and the last of us auditioned after 5,” Hurt said. “It’s an all-day thing.”
“You wait a long time for your audition, but overall it’s a really good experience,” Romine said. “I’m a senior and unfortunately didn’t make it, but I think it’s a really good experience as a performer and a singer to get more auditions in.”
After the All-Region Choir Clinic in November, Blitz said she will prepare for All-State auditions with after-school practices just like she did for All-Region auditions.
“If you’re hesitant about the auditions, just try it,” she said. “It prepares you for a lot. It’s like an interview process almost. You have to be prepared and know what you’re going to do. It’s an amazing experience.”
Blitz said All-Region Choir also opens up a lot of good opportunities for students, including scholarships.
“It’s a confidence booster,” she said. “I’m excited about the scholarships because I know I want to be in a choir in college. I just don’t want to major in music.”
Choir director Benjamin Winn said it was a huge accomplishment to have a Berryville student qualify for All-Region Choir.
“It’s been a few years,” he said. “They’ve been working on the music since August, and I’m proud of the effort the students put into it. It’s exciting that Hannah will get to join students from Green Forest and Eureka Springs at the clinic. All of Carroll County’s towns will be represented.”