Freshmen all-state stars


The Edmond Memorial choir girls rehearse during class.

Avery Hamlin, Memorial Contributing Writer


Select Memorial choir students grades 9-12 attended Rose State College Nov. 13 for round two of the all-state choir (OCDA) auditions. Surviving through round one is a challenge, but multiple freshman proceeded to round two and all 12 were selected to represent Memorial at state. These freshman include: Brooke Anderson, Avery Hamlin, Kaylen Herndon, Lauren Launhardt, William Loughridge, Timmi Mathis, Olivia Melder, Grace Moxley, Olivia Roberts, Luke Rosacker, Sophie Starns and Ethan Willimon.

“When I saw the list, I was extremely excited and seeing all of the other freshman’s names made me even happier,” said two year junior high OCDA member Olivia Roberts. “Last year, I was the only girl in my school that made it.”

In COCDA (Central Oklahoma Choral Directors Association) and OCDA (Oklahoma Choral Directors Association), seventh through ninth graders audition in the junior high category, leaving sixth graders to audition for the children’s all-state choir and tenth through twelfth graders for the high school.

To keep things as fair as possible, Oklahoma honor choirs use blind auditions. Each singer has a number assigned to them to prevent bias opinion. The audition room has a black screen with the judges on the other side and your number is called to the judges. In order for the judges to stay anonymous, the track is played with a voice saying, “are you ready?” then proceeds with selected cuts from two of the three songs.

“It falls in line with most other auditions that are of a similar style,” said one of Memorial’s choir directors Mary Beth Singleton. “All of the honor choir auditions here in Oklahoma pretty much follow the same standards, so I think it is a pretty fair representation of the preparation of a student and their abilities.”

Preparation is a big part of the auditions; those who choose to audition are given three songs in advance to learn thoroughly. The songs can and have been in any language from Spanish, Latin, English and sometimes utter gibberish. Students spend months in advance working in and outside of school to make sure they are fully prepared for anything, given that no one knows which two songs or cuts of the songs will be chosen for the audition.

“When preparing, it’s important to make sure that you know the music very well by practicing as much as possible,” Roberts said. “When you audition, nerves will take over a bit and can mess you up if you do not fully know what you are singing.”

Many schools and states are not fortunate enough to experience the opportunities that OCDA and COCDA offer to young singers. Working with professional conductors as well as an elite group of young singers is not an opportunity provided to most.

“I went to such a tiny school that we didn’t really have opportunities like that, so I never was able to try out for those sort of things,” Singleton said.

All-state is a three day event filled with multiple practices a day from Jan. 10-12 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. A third audition will be given in order to be sure the members of the choir know all of the six pieces required for the performance. The final performance for junior high and jazz choirs will be on the last day in Yukon.