In all the years choral teacher John Lorentzen has taught at Sequim High School, he has never had as many student 20 students selected to participate in Washington State’s All-State Choir.
“We usually get anywhere from 6-12 (students), so getting 20 was a big deal for a small school like Sequim,” said Lorentzen, choral/vocal music director at Sequim High School and Sequim Middle School since 2011.
All-State Choir is a state-wide event where hundreds of student from across the state send in audition recordings of their voices to a committee of specialists who listen to each voice type and select students from all the submissions.
Lorentzen said he has the students from his vocal ensemble class audition for All-State to gain musician experience.
“They are 300 of the most talented and dedicated students and it raises the bar so they are performing at a fairly higher level,” Lorentzen said.
“They can go above and beyond what they normally can do in their regular curricular programs and then they bring a little piece of that back to us.”
There were a total of 29 Sequim High students that auditioned for All-State Choir.
The 20 students that were selected will be sent to Yakima in 2018 where they will practice rehearsals day-in-and day-out from February 16-18 with other students leading up to the grand concert on Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Yakima Convention Center.
“They are sequestered for three days; they eat, sleep and breathe with these people for those three days,” Lorentzen said.
He said this year there were new components for the auditions including sight reading — singing a melody they’ve never seen before and maintaining their part — and sending in a recording of their voice via computer.
Students also have to specify which voice type they are.
This opportunity also gives students a taste of what a college experience might be like by rooming with strangers from across the state for three days, Lorentzen said.
For some students, it’s a way to gain experience and make lifelong friends.
“Going my freshman and sophomore year I learned and gained so much as a singer,” said Abby Norman, one of the All-State students selected.
Norman said one of her roommates from attending All-State freshman year is still one of her friends today and they might be roommates again in college.
“The first two years I’ve gone are definitely memorable experiences,” said Joey Oliver, another all-state student.
“It’s cool to hear the sound of amazing musicians around you.”
“You never know what you’re capable of until you just get out there and get the experience,” Shelby Wells said.
The students will receive music to practice in January and will rehearse until they leave for All-State in February.