OCDA all-state choirs take on Yukon

Avery Hamlin, Memorial Staff Writer

Oklahoma’s Choir Directors Association (OCDA) annual festival provides experiences and memories that will never be forgotten along with sparking the interest for music in young singers. Students claim there is an unexplainable bond they obtain when they come together in one room with other passionate and talented singers from around the state.

“The choir community is fantastic and I had so much fun hanging out with the treble choir members in between rehearsals and around the hotel,” freshman Lauren Launhardt said. “I keep coming back for more because I love the people that are part of it and I want to experience that feeling of being around people who actually care about choir and have the same interest as me.”

While at all-state, students wake up early to spend each day in three different rehearsals to perfect the music. The work put into the entire program by every choir director, clinician, volunteer and student is well worth it when it all comes together.

“A lot of time and effort went into the auditions, so it is quite a reward to be able to go and participate in the all-state festival,” said Memorial’s choir director Mary Beth Singleton. “To be able to work with other students from other programs who are the best of the best, working with a professional, national clinician who has some really fantastic ideas and being able to put all of that together and spend days with other people just making amazing music is such a wonderful experience and reward for all their hard work.”

This year, the mixed choir had an opportunity to meet and discuss their pieces with Brant Adams, who arranged three of the six pieces sung by the choir.

“Adams was very cool and could play piano like nobody’s business,” freshman William Loughridge said.

Treble choir was very fortunate to have Sophia Papoulis as their clinician. Papoulis came from New York, experiencing Oklahoma for the first time. She has a different outlook on choir as she added enthusiasm and dances to the mix of things.

“The clinician was so nice and I loved her.” Launhardt said. “She was always so energetic, open to new ideas and she made every rehearsal enjoyable for the whole choir.”

For mixed choir, the clinician, Robert Ward, kept to classic choir terms. The seven part choir spent each rehearsal learning the beauty of classical voice.

“I liked the way he interpreted the songs and how he pushed us to pronounce everything correctly.” Loughridge said. “I learned a lot from him, like never underestimating the pianist and letting the accompanist have their time to shine. During the performance, the choir went into a decrescendo and the piano did multiple impressive triplets in a row.”

The concert took place at a new, larger venue this year in Yukon. Although the venue wasn’t familiar, the concert went smoothly. It began with the all-state jazz choir which consists of only 25 students in the grades of 10-12, then continued with treble and mixed. The 2019 OCDA performance was a success thanks to the clinicians, volunteers, supportive parents and the young adults that dedicate their life to music.

Contact Avery Hamlin at [email protected]