Local, area music students improve, share their talents at BVU camp
They are the cream of the crop when it comes to high school vocalists. They all took part in the intensive three-day All-State Choir Camp at Buena Vista University. The highlight of the event was joining all 215 voices together to present a special concert in Schaller Chapel.
This is the eighth year for the camp which includes students from all across the state. This year, 17 less students were allowed to participate, making the event more manageable. The students came together on the campus and worked in sections, individually and as one group. Nineteen rehearsal hours were arranged from Thursday morning to early Saturday afternoon. Vocal directors from high schools across the state worked with the students and Dr. Kent Hatteberg, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Louisville, served as the director for the Saturday concert.
The songs selected were challenging and as the students rehearsed, many made notes on their music sheets. In the short period of time, the students learned to sing in five additional languages - Russian, Latin, Latvian, German and French. Danuta Hutchins was brought in to assist the students with Russian pronunciation. the most difficult of the languages.
The camp helps prepare the students for all-state auditions which are held each fall throughout the state. "We know this is challenging," commented Paula Keeler, lead director of the camp and BVU choral director, "but our biggest focus is to help the students feel confident in their singing. We believe in the value for our students. It has always been the directors' idea that difficult music be presented to them; these students are those that need to be challenged. We have the finest staff we can hire to assist the students. We hope they go away with the idea that music is worth doing - whether they make it to all-state or not. This camp includes a lot of student leaders from different schools. We hope they enjoy meeting kids from all over.
" They all work hard and we hope when we send them home they will work with their own choral directors so they may be successful in the all-state auditions (which are held each fall.)"
It was pointed out that Iowa goes through the second most competitive audition process for the all-state contest. Though they have worked extremely hard at the BVU camp, it doesn't mean that they will be chosen for all-state. In it said that only one of five participants will receive that honor.
"These participants are the lucky ones," said Keeler. "They have the support of their parents and teachers. This is a cool experience for them - especially having the chance to sing with a choir of 215."
The camp participants, those going into ninth through 12th grades this fall, got a taste of university life as they stayed on campus for the two nights. Social activities were also planned for the students to take part in, giving them a break from their music.
Directors taking part in this year's camp were Keeler; Jeff Tollefson, choral director at Storm Lake High School; Mary Citta, choral director at Waterloo West High School; Bill Hott, choral director at Wall Lake View Auburn High School and Jean Busker, choral director at Sioux City West High School.
Storm Lake students were: Jeff Buckingham, Kayla Christ, Nick Crippin, Katelyn Croker, Lucas Droessler, Lindsay Guenther, Emily Gutz, Elizabeth Hixon, Patrick Kelly, Jacob Lyon, Eva Morales, Keaton Murphy, Anna Paulsen, Morgan Rauch, Stephanie Rude, Collin Schultz, Ross Schultz, Juvenal Soria, Andrew Storm, Nate Tucker, Jennifer Vanez, Tessa Winterton and Ashley Wolf.
Area students were: Liz Cooney, Erin Galvin and Beth Wilson, Holstein; Christopher Duitsman and Erica Tiedman, Fonda; Kaylee Koster and Karla Popp, Newell; Luke Ridout, Kayla Schmitz, Alta; and Katie Stumpf, Laurens.