These four singers and their instructor have been practicing for weeks before they join the remaining high school students from across South Dakota for All State Chorus. From left are Nathan Nixon, Ashley Parson, instructor, Delayna Jensen, Alexandra Brace and Karlie Robertson.

New Underwood sends four to All State Chorus

Four New Underwood High School musicians have been selected to take part in the 2015 All State Chorus, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in Rapid City at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. 

Sophomore Nathan Nixon, bass, senior Alexandra Brace, tenor, Karlie Robertson, alto, and junior Ashley Parsons, soprano, will perform with nearly 1,000 students from across the state, singing 10 pieces in three different languages. One of the pieces will be accompanied by the All State Orchestra, who will also be performing during Saturday’s concert.

In order to take part in the All State Chorus, the students are required to be selected through an audition process in their own school. This year’s Tiger performers feature two returning All State Chorus performers, Nixon and Brace. Parsons and Robertson will perform at All State Chorus for the first time this year. 

New Underwood is sending an unconventional quartet to the All State Chorus this year. Though the tenor part is generally sung by a male, the Tigers will send Brace as their representative tenor in order to fill out the quartet. 

The musicians are required to attend rehearsals at their schools as well as whole-choir rehearsals on the day preceding and day of the Grand Concert. For the New Underwood performers, this means that they have been practicing before school and on the weekends, both alone and together, under the guidance of New Underwood music teacher Delayna Jensen. 

Each piece of music must be memorized prior to the whole-choir rehearsals. In order to ascertain that the parts have been memorized, All State Chorus personnel perform spot checks on the quartets. This means that quartets are randomly selected to perform the selections in front of a choral committee member. Quartets that do not adequately prove that they know their parts are put on probation. This is, according to Jensen, “a little nerve wracking.”

There are many advantages for musicians who are selected to take part in the All State Chorus. Jensen, who is continually working to make her music classes more applicable to all of her students by bringing in a variety of musical genres and media, speaks positively of the All State Chorus experience for her students.

“They get to sing with a large group of peers that also enjoy singing and understand what it takes to be prepared for this annual event. They get to study repertoire that most small choirs aren't able to. They learn from a renowned conductor who brings new ideas and techniques into the extensive rehearsals. It can be transformative for a young performer,” Jensen said. 

The Pioneer Review

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