Honor singers

Copperas Cove High School choir students, under the direction of teachers Ricky Gates and James Barker, compete at the TMEA Region 8 Choir Auditions with all students selected to perform in one of the Region 8 choirs and senior Adam Hirsch advancing to the area auditions.

WACO — Copperas Cove High School Junior Bethany Hamilton’s eyes widen as she sings. Her facial expression and body positioning support the soprano as she performs as a first soprano in the grades 9-12 Large School Choir category, a very competitive group, at the Texas Music Educators Association Region 8 Choir auditions. She placed eighth, just shy of the top five advancing to the Area audition this month.

“Choir is something I’m really passionate about,” Hamilton said. “To accomplish this goal is something I’m very proud of. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my directors, my voice teacher, and the endless support of my parents.”

The All-State audition process begins throughout the state in each of the TMEA Regions. Individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each voice part. From this ranking, a select group of musicians advances from their Region to TMEA Area competitions and from there the highest-ranking qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State music group.

Hamilton was selected to perform in the Region 8 Choir in Waco as was CCHS sophomore Jessica Johnson who auditioned in a separate category, the 9-10 grade Region 8 Choir audition. Johnson said the audition taught her to handle competition stress.

“The audition was amazing and terrifying all at once,” Johnson said. “I only had a week to get the songs down and felt so unprepared. When I walked out of the room, I felt a sense of completely unexpected—and unneeded—dread. I left the audition with seventh chair and lifelong memories.”

Johnson was selected to perform as a first soprano in the 9-10 Grade Region 8 Choir Concert. She performed with Freshman Leela Fitzpatrick who auditioned as a first alto and placed 11th.

Two-time All-State Choir member and CCHS senior Adam Hirsch qualified for the 9-12 Large School Pre-Area audition with CCHS sophomore Samantha Parker placing first alternate.

Each fall, over 70,000 Texas high school students begin the All-State audition process. 1,810 are ultimately selected to rehearse and perform during the annual TMEA Clinic/Convention in one of 18 Texas All-State ensembles, including four choirs: Mixed Choir, Treble Choir, Tenor-Bass Choir, Small School Mixed Choir. The Copperas Cove High School Chorale Program is under the direction of teachers Ricky Gates and James Barker.

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