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By JARRETT KITCHENS
STEPHENVILLE (April 14, 2015) — After all four Stephenville choirs made sweepstakes last year and at least one choir winning sweepstakes for the past eight consecutive years, John Tucker, choir conductor of Stephenville High School, plans to take another four for this year’s UIL choir competition.
“Very few choir programs take four choirs to contest,” Tucker said. “Much less a school the size of SHS. I’m so proud of how hard the students work to prepare and desire to sing well.”
They must compete against themselves to meet the best of the three judges’ standards in two subjects: singing and sight reading, or the reading of pitches in a music piece by sight. The requirements of each choir are judged on a basis of three different songs. Two must be off the UIL’s PML, or the Pre-scripted Music List, while the third may be a choice song. Also, one piece must be an acapella piece.
The scores for both singing and sight reading are set by six judges in total, three for singing, and three for sight reading. They are ranged in critique of levels of one through five – one being almost perfect, while a score of five will be given if it appears the group has never seen the music doesn’t what “Do, Re, Mi” is.
The four choirs strive to earn a “one” from all six judges, getting a chance to show off their musical muscles.
Speaking of musical muscles, Flash student-writer Jarrett Kitchens interviewed Non-Varsity Treble member Mattie Jo Hardcastle and Varsity Tenor/Bass member Adrian Montgomery about their feelings toward the UIL competition.
Jarrett Kitchens- “How do you feel about this year’s competition?”
Mattie Jo-“Am I confident?”
JK-“Yes, what are your emotions on it?”
MJ “I guess so, if we keep singing like we do, I think we will do well.
JK- “Where do you think you stand this year? How well do you think you will do this year?”
MJ-“Me as a person alone?”
JK-“Yes, only you.”
MJ-“I honestly think I’ll do pretty well!”
JK-“So, what have you learned, what have been your struggles and what have you gotten better at?”
MJ-“I’ve really learned to blend with the other people around me. Also I haven’t really struggled much with anything.”
JK-“How do you feel when you sing?”
MJ-“Music always has a way of explaining my feelings for me. Sometimes I just wish I could burst out into song so that people would know how I feel in a particular situation.”
Here is the conversation Kitchens had with Adrian about the concert.
JK- “How do you feel about this year’s competition? What are your emotions about it?”
Adrian Montgomery-“I feel nervous but after concert I’m pretty sure I’ll feel complacent.”
JK-“Where do you think you stand this year? How well do you think you will do this year?”
AM-“I don’t know how I’ll do.”
JK-“It’ll happen when it happens I guess?”
JK-“Did you have any struggles? What did you do to stop the struggle?”
AM-“I overcame the struggles by practicing it daily.”
JK-“What have you learned and gotten better at?”
AM-“I’ve gotten better and more confident with my voice.”
JK-“What do you think your position is in the choir.”
At this point his friend, Trent, bumped in. “Like are you asking if he’s the encourager, or like the comical relief?”
AM-“I don’t really have a place, I’m just there.”
JK-“How hard is it to juggle school work, personal time, and UIL?”
AM-“It’s surprisingly easy, I can balance both very well!”
JK-“What is your favorite song and why?”
AM-“ ‘The Gods Have Heard my Vows.’ I like it because it has a really good blend of voices.”
If you missed the Pre-UIL concert, here is all of the music you missed and what they will perform at Weatherford High School:
The women sing on Thursday, April 16. Non Varsity Treble (combined sixth and ninth) will sing “Dance of the One – Legged Sailor” by Brent Pierce, “Ah, Dear Heart” by John Donne and Emily Crocker, and “Will There Really Be a Morning?” by Emily Dickinson and Craig Hella Johnson at 9:30 AM. Varsity Treble will sing “I Did Not Die” by Jerry Ulrich, “Hamisha Asar” by Flory Jagoda and Nick Page, and “Ave Maria” by Guy Forbes at 10:20 AM.
Then the varsity men plus men and women of the varsity mixed choir will perform Friday, April 17. Varsity Tenor/Bass choir will sing “Rocka My Soul” arranged by Noble Cain with soloists Kelly Danley, Kellum Harris, and Will Beaty, “The Gods Have Heard My Vows” by C.M. Shearer, and “For the Fallen” by Mike Sammes at 9:30 AM. The Varsity Mixed Choir will sing “Dirait-On” Morten Lauridsen , “Psallite” by Michael Praetorius, and “Adoramus Te” by Jordan Bennett at 12:40 AM.