By Adam Young
The 60 voice performing ensemble WPHS Singers recently traveled to Elko, to participate in the Northeast Nevada Regional Honor Choir Festival.
Each fall, students from around the northeastern area of the state audition to sing in the Regional Honor Choir.
Participating schools include Elko, Spring Creek, Battle Mountain, Carlin, Wells, Lowry, Lincoln, and White Pine. The audition process includes recording an ascending and descending chromatic scale, five melodic intervals, and the appropriate vocal line of an audition song. Each of these exercises must be recorded one singer at a time and without the assistance of the piano.
The auditions are sent to adjudicators within Nevada as well as outside of the state.
Adjudicators use a rubric and select qualifying students to sing in the Honor Choir.
2017 saw 32 White Pine students make the cut into the Honor Choir. Director Adam Young reported, “This is the highest number of students we’ve had selected to the choir.
Two years ago we had 24 and last year we had 26. I’m really proud of every member of WPHS’s choir.
Each student is required to submit an audition, which itself can be very frightening.
The 32 students who were selected have even more of a reason to celebrate. “Once the Honor Choir is selected, the students from the various schools meet in Elko for two intense days of rehearsal. Through the course of the two days, students spent more than 14 hours singing, working tirelessly to perfect their technique and put on an excellent show.
This year’s guest conductor was Dr. Michael Huff, who selected a patriotically themed program.
Former White Pine musician and Honor Choir accompanist, now relocated to Elko County, noted, “Dr. Huff really worked with the singers on their vocal technique. He reinforced a number of principles relating to tone, diction, and phrasing that helped the participants become better singers. They will be able to take these ideas back to their home choirs.”Each member school is encouraged to sing at the concert as well.
White Pine performed Peter Wilhousky’s version of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” which they have been rehearsing since school began.
Megan Van Tassell is the group’s accompanist on the piano, which plays a feature role in the arrangement.
Also recognized at the festival were four year honor choir members Maryn Van Tassell, Kamrin Herring, Britney Kingston, and Collin Young.
Young was a tenor section leader as well, meaning his audition was rated as the highest in the region.