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All-State Choir Audition Process FAQs

TMEA All State Choir Audition Process~Frequently Asked Questions

What is it? The Texas Music Educators Association hosts the annual All-State Choir audition process. Students in grades 9-12 compete against singers from across the state on their respective voice part vying for a spot in either the Texas All-State Mixed Choir, Texas All-State Treble Choir, or the Texas All-State Tenor/Bass Choir. The audition process usually begins in September with a series of audition rounds that lead up to the final audition occurring the first Saturday in January.

Who participates? All GPFAA Vocal Music High School students participate in the All State audition process.

How much will it cost? The school district pays the audition fee for each student at each round. If for any reason a student does not audition, they will be required to pay the fee.

All-State Choir Camps? Why? Many students opt to attend summer camps that have various costs. We encourage students to attend at least one summer camp. Since we are dealing with a pandemic/Covid-19, most camps have a capacity of how many singers they will have attending. Please plan now so your student has the opportunity to attend. There are a few virtual choir camps this summer, please look at list for the virtual camps. It may not sound ideal, but virtual can still be very beneficial and give students a big advantage in the All State Audition Process. With the quick turnaround and the amount of music students need to learn, summer camps are critical in providing a structure for students to prepare the music for the first audition properly.  

All-State Workshop? One last Look- UTA. I highly recommend your student to participate in this one day workshop! This one day workshop will cover round one and two music. Click here to sign up!

Private Voice Lessons? It is HIGHLY recommended that students take private voice lessons during the summer and school year. These lessons are valuable in maintaining vocal stamina and building solid vocal technique in a one on one environment. We seek out the best voice teachers to teach in the GPFAA Vocal Music Program so that students can receive well rounded vocal training. Voice lessons are provided during the school day and cost $18 per half-hour every week. Summer lessons vary in cost depending on the voice teacher.

How much time does it take? A man on his way to a concert asked a passerby, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” the man’s reply: “Practice, Practice, Practice!” Yes, the best way to make the All-State choir is to PRACTICE more than your competition. Summer lessons and summer camps are a great start. When school starts in August, we will have morning and an after school rehearsal. I encourage all those auditioning to practice at least 45-60 minutes every day on their music and sight-reading. Also, we will work with students individually and in groups during their choir class.      

When does this all happen?

TMEA All-State Choir 2021-2022 Important Dates     

  • September TBD Round One Audition
  • October TBD Round Two
  • November TBD, Region 5 Clinic, and Concert-Location TBD
  • November TBD, Pre-Area Auditions –Location TBD
  • January TBD, Area Auditions, Location TBD
  • February 9th-12th, All State Choir Performance at the TMEA Convention in San Antonio.

How do I get the music? Music packets should be available starting June 1st. Purchase them as soon as possible for your student at jwpepper.com . Also, the ever-important All-State rehearsal tracks will be available later in the summer. When they arrive, Mr. Duarte will send out an email with instructions on how to get your rehearsal tracks. One track will have the voice part demonstrated; the other will have only the piano accompaniment. The piano accompaniment track is the one used in the auditions.

How do I know which voice part to sing for the All-State auditions? Mr. Duarte will decide which voice part fits you for this year’s music. Even though you may sing a different voice part in choir or voice lessons, the All-State music differs from song to song and year to year. If you need to know your voice part, please feel free to email Mr. Duarte @ joel.duarte@gpisd.org

How do the auditions work? Students will sing a portion of three songs from the list of all-state music. This is called a “cut.” They will sing the cut by themselves for a group of five judges who are hidden behind a screen. The judges consider the knowledge of the music and quality of singing and rank students from highest to lowest. The scoring for singing is on a 300 point scale using the Olympic scoring system (drop the highest and lowest scores and average the rest). All students will also sight-read a short line of music- 8 measures in length. Students are given 30 seconds to study the line and then sight-sing the exercise. The scoring for sight-reading is on a 60 point scale using the Olympic scoring system (drop the highest and lowest scores and average the rest).

Do I have a chance to make it? It is challenging to make the All-State choir. Over 15,000 students start the process in August, and only about 350 make an All-State choir. Although the odds seem very slim, GPFAA has a great history of placing students in the All-State and All-Region choirs. All-Region and the 9/10 All-Region choirs are a great honor as well, and worthy goals. Especially for underclassmen singers.

Is it worth all this time and effort? First off, it doesn’t take that much time and effort. Consistent practice is the key to success. But yes, it is very much worth the time and effort. Even if a student does not make the first audition, the lessons learned, and the vocal growth that will occur will improve the individual singer. Students that make one of the Honor choirs will enjoy the experience of working with an excellent clinician and singing with talented and music-loving students from around the area. Students that make the All-State choir will be recognized as dedicated and high-quality musicians. All-State singers get to work with a renowned All-State clinician, meet like-minded and highly talented students from across the state, be a part of the largest music convention in the world. Parents, don’t forget college night, where universities from all over the country recruit All-State performers with scholarships, and awesome All-State Concert attended by every choir director in the State of Texas, and, best of all, this is paid for by GPISD. Yes, it is worth all the time and effort.

What current 8th graders should know about High School All-State? What current 8th graders should know about High School All-State
We always try to make an extra effort to reach out to 8th graders in the spring before their Freshman year to start preparing them, mentally at least, for the All-State process. You only get four chances to make the All-State choir, and we hate for the first try to be halfhearted. Additionally, in the past, we have had Freshman All-Staters, and we have also had students who might’ve made it if they had just tried. So listen up, 8th graders! The time to start planning is now.

Differences between Middle School Region and High School All State

Right from the start, let’s understand that High School All-State and Middle School Region auditions feel very different.

  • You’re competing against older singers. Most of the time, Middle School Region is separated out by grade. Which means you’re truly competing against students who are very close to your development level. In High School, you’ll be barely finding your locker in time for class, but singing against singers who are perhaps college-bound to study music or who have already made All-State.
  • The Music is harder. Much harder. Middle School Region music is generally written for that specific age and purpose. You’ll explore a vast array of styles, composers, languages, etc.
  • And there’s more of it! Tons of music. And more at each audition level, you progress through.
  • You’ll learn it differently: in our Region, it is commonplace for the Varsity Middle School choirs to learn the music in class, perform it at a concert, and then require students to audition. In High School we will also work on music in class you but keep in mind, learning it on your own helps you to put your special flair to the music instead of singing it like your classmates, so that’s a plus!

Voicing for each Ensemble and advancement: SEQUENCE OF EVENTS AND VOICE SELECTION BREAK DOWN PER AUDITION 

ROUND I: 36 SOPRANO I, 36 SOPRANO II, 36 ALTO I, 36 ALTO II, 6 TENOR I 36 TENOR II 36 BASS I 36 BASS II
288 Singers Advance to Round II, no alternates for round one.

In case of split audition rooms, an equal number of singers will be taken from each room, regardless of how many actual students audition in each room (2 room split=18 per room/ 3 room split=12 per room).

ROUND II: 16+2 SOPRANO I 16+2 SOPRANO II, 16+2 ALTO I 16+2 ALTO II, 16+2 TENOR I 16+2 TENOR II 16+2 BASS I 16+2 BASS II*16 singers plus 2 alternates in each voice part advance to the pre-Area audition.

*16 singers plus 2 alternates sing as the “REGION CHOIR”
*Chairs 19-33 of Sopranos and Altos are considered the “DISTRICT TREBLE CHOIR.”
*Any 9th-10th Grade Soprano/Alto not receiving a place in the DISTRICT TREBLE CHOIR (Chairs 34-36) will be automatically granted a place in the 9th/10th Grade Honor Choir. 9th and 10th grade tenors and basses who do not receive a place in the Region Choir (Chairs 17-36) will automatically be granted a place in the 9th/10th Grade Honor Choir. Directors should notify the Region Chair following the Round II audition if the students will be accepting these positions.

PRE-AREA: 5+2 SOPRANO I 5+2 SOPRANO II, 5+2 ALTO I, 5+2 ALTO II, 5+2 TENOR I 5+2 TENOR II 5+2 BASS I 5+2 BASS II
*5 singers plus 2 alternates are expected to attend the Area audition in Arlington on Saturday, January 8, 2022. Region 5 will compete with 3 other regions for seats in the All-State Mixed (chairs 1-4), Treble (chairs 5-10) and Tenor-Bass Choirs (chairs 5-8).

AREA AUDITIONS: EACH VOICE PART AS FOLLOWS

CHAIRS 1-4, ALL-STATE MIXED, (32 SINGERS)
CHAIRS 5-10, ALL-STATE TREBLE, (24 SINGERS)
CHAIRS 5-8 ALL-STATE TENOR-BASS, (16 SINGERS)

This audition takes place at the University of Texas at Arlington on January 8, 2022. The Area audition is made up of singers from 4 Regions (5, 24, 30, and 31) which make up AREA B. Note: Audition results WILL be announced at the end of the audition.

Expectations

If you’re the type of person who goes all-in when you try something new, good for you! It is certainly possible to make All-State as a Freshman, and you obviously can’t do it if you don’t try. Most of our Freshmen go into it with the mindset of “getting their feet wet.” Not to say it’s always a wash, but sometimes your first go at All-State, whether it’s your Freshman or Senior year, is simply about learning the process. Kind of like taking a baseline SAT so you know how and where to improve as you study for the next one.
Remember, singing in the Region choir is an extremely valuable experience, and for the vast majority of singers that’s the best ensemble they’ll get to perform with. So even if that’s “all” you can accomplish your Freshman year, you’ll be a better musician in the end.
I can’t tell you how many students walk out of their Region audition feeling like they succeeded, no matter the result, because they learned so much about the process along the way.

As one more bonus….at school, you’ll likely be placed in a non-Varsity group with the other Freshmen. But having participated in All-State might help you to vault from there to a much more advanced group your Sophomore year, both by improving your singing skills and by helping you stand out to your director as a high achiever, regardless of your audition outcome.

Your To-Do List

  1. Recruit your friends – if you have a group of friends who are invested in this, you are so much more likely to follow through.
  2. Sign up for a summer camp — And when you get there, try to avoid feeling intimidated or overwhelmed. Be prepared to be surrounded by older students who are old pros at this and just try to absorb as much as possible.
  3. Find a voice teacher – If you aren’t already studying privately, now is a good time to sign up. We believe that private lessons are essential to All-State success. 
  4. Have Mr. Duarte help you select an appropriate voice part for High School All-State, whether or not you’ve been singing that in Middle School. (For Example, We rarely advise our 8th grade 1st Sopranos to do High School 1st Soprano…. it’s a whole different ball game.)
  5. Get signed up for summer lessons – and have a few before camp! You will feel less overwhelmed if you step into camp already familiar with the music.
  6. Start working on Sight-Reading.
  7. Make a goal – and hold yourself to it! Your goal, again, should be concrete and measurable. Something like: “I want to learn all of this music and feel prepared for the Region audition.” Not….”I want to be the first chair in the All-State choir as a Freshman.”

 

I still have questions… Contact Mr. Duarte, and I will answer any other questions. This is a wonderful experience if approached with the right attitude and work ethic. Please contact me during the summer at joel.duarte@gpisd.org

 

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