Waconia schools send 28 students to All-State Choir

Waconia students in the 4-6th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Zachary Rausch, Cami Bertossi, Ryan Orth, Kaethe Ludford, Johanna Makela and Audrey Meier; back row: Katie-Jane Klembarsky, Luc Bertossi, Sam Roelofs, Bonnie Young, Ryann Nicholosn, Elli Ess and Anna Geyen.

Waconia students in the 4-6th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Zachary Rausch, Cami Bertossi, Ryan Orth, Kaethe Ludford, Johanna Makela and Audrey Meier; back row: Katie-Jane Klembarsky, Luc Bertossi, Sam Roelofs, Bonnie Young, Ryann Nicholosn, Elli Ess and Anna Geyen.

An impressive 28 students from Waconia Schools were named to all-state honor choirs this year.

At the elementary school level, 13 singers from Waconia performed in the 2013 Minnesota All State Elementary Honor Choir in Mathomedi on Friday, Nov. 22. The students are, from Bayview: Ryan Orth, Elli Ess and Audrey Meier (all 4th graders); from Southview: Anna Geyen, Kaethe Ludford, Johanna Makela, Ryann Nicholson and Zachary Rausch (all 4th graders); and from Clearwater: Cami Bertossi, Katie-Jane Klembarsky and Sam Roelofs (all 5th graders) and Luc Bertossi and Bonnie Young (both 6th graders).

Waconia students in the 7-8th grade honor choir are, from left: Marina Ramirez, Katelyn Siebert, Michael Harvala, Brock Kjelden and Mikyla Malone.

Waconia students in the 7-8th grade honor choir are, from left: Marina Ramirez, Katelyn Siebert, Michael Harvala, Brock Kjelden and Mikyla Malone.

Marina Ramirez, Katelyn Siebert, Michael Harvala, Brock Kjelden and Mikyla Malone were selected for the grade 7-8 all-state honor choir. They performed in Mahtomedi on Saturday, Nov. 23.

All of these students are taught by Lisa Lozito and Sue Snorek (Southview), Kari Werdahl (Bayview) and Evan Jones and Scott Brose (Clearwater).

The all-state elementary choir is sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association Minnesota Chapter (MN – ACDA) for students in grades 4-6 every year. The students auditioned earlier this fall in a blind-recorded audition. Out of 530 submitted recordings, 150 singers were selected.

According to Snorek, the all-state elementary choir was led by conductor Elizabeth Jensen Shepley, who has been on the Northfield Youth Choirs staff since 2001 and is a certified Orff-Schulwerk and Kodály music educator, and has had further study at the Royal School of Church Music in England. She has taught music education in public and private schools and has led conferences and festivals nationwide.

For the upper grades, the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) All-State program gives students the opportunity to prepare a formal audition and those students who are selected through the audition process perform with other talented students from across Minnesota in a camp setting. The visible, final result of the All-State program is a public performance in August and again the following February.

Waconia students in the 9-10th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Carissa Dock, Ally Girard and MacKenzie DeLeo; back row: Jordan Erickson and Marshall Peters.

Waconia students in the 9-10th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Carissa Dock, Ally Girard and MacKenzie DeLeo; back row: Jordan Erickson and Marshall Peters.

Carissa Dock, Ally Girard, MacKenzie DeLeo, Jordan Erickson and Marshall Peters earned a spot in the grade 9-10 all-state honor choir. They will perform at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis on Feb. 13, 2014.

Sam Bijou, Tanner Larson, Claire Melchert, Matt Miller and Mike Miller were named to the 11-12 grade all-state honor choir, which will perform in conjunction with the Minnesota Music Educators Mid Winter Clinic held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Feb. 15, 2014.

At this level, there are actually three choirs: Mixed (directed by Jo-Michael Scheibe), Men’s (directed by Lee Nelson) and Women’s (directed by Sandra Peter). Melchert and Matt Miller are singing in the Mixed Choir and Bijou, Larson and Mike Miller will be singing in the Men’s Chorus.

Waconia students in the 11-12th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Mike Miller, Claire Melchert and Sam Bijou; back row: Tanner Larson and Matt Miller.

Waconia students in the 11-12th grade honor choir are, front row, from left: Mike Miller, Claire Melchert and Sam Bijou; back row: Tanner Larson and Matt Miller.

According to Aaron Olson, the choir director at Waconia High School, the five high school students going this year is the most since Waconia sent the maximum of six students to all-state choir in 2002.

“There is a long running tradition of placing students in the honor choir programs here at Waconia High School that was started over 40 years ago with Ron Larson as the director of choirs at Waconia,” Olson said. “We have records dating back to 1969 of all the students that have earned a spot in these prestigious choirs.”

Olson said the sheer number of students earning all-state honors is a compliment to Waconia’s program.

“Twenty-eight students from Waconia is quite remarkable accomplishment and our fantastic music educators should be commended for helping to inspire theses kids love for music,” he said.

According to the MMEA, more than 2,000 students audition for the All State Experience and around 500 students are selected to perform in one of the All State Choirs, Bands or Orchestras.

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