Battle Mountain High School choir earns silver in nationwide competition
High school singers travel to Disneyland to face off against 26 choirs
Battle Mountain High School’s choir members seemed a little dejected when they walked off the stage at a national competition at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. They seemed to think that Mickey and Minnie could have sung better than they had.
They were mistaken. They were darned near perfect.
The choir made the trip to California to sing in the nationwide World Strides Choral Concert and Competition. By those lofty standards, Battle Mountain has the second-best altitude choir in the country. They missed taking first by a scant two points.
‘I knew they could do it’
Battle Mountain High School choir teacher and director Alexandra Trosper sought out competitions around the country for her singers and World Strides seemed like a good fit.
In Anaheim, the Huskies singers faced off against 26 choirs from around California and the western United States.
“The real goal was making the kids be vulnerable and take risks. They weren’t sure, but I knew they could do it,” Trosper said. “I knew I was not setting them up for failure. They’ve made progress in leaps and bounds. It’s astounding.”
Best second job ever
Trosper has taught at BMHS for four years. Many people in the Vail Valley have second jobs. Trosper also is a professional opera singer, so her second job is probably the most interesting.
She keeps up with her training and brings that training back to her students.
She earned her undergrad degree from Colorado State University and studied at the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany. She is a member of the Colorado Opera and performs locally with the Vail Valley Theater Company and in Glenwood Springs with local musician Jonathan Gorst.
Trosper also performs with the Boulder Opera, the Fort Collins Opera and just sang with the Vocal Institute in Michigan.
Latin sounds serious
It’s possible that nothing at Disneyland has ever sounded so serious. Trosper chose three pieces for the choir to perform, all in Latin, that included four- to six-part harmonies, a cappella portions and a solo for junior Ethan Pyke.
The first piece the choir performed was “Gloria” from “Missa Kenya” by Jo Micheal Schiebe, featuring Pyke’s solo. The second was “Ubi Caritas” by Ola Gjeilo and finally “Dies Irae” by Ryan Main.
“I’ve never had an Altitude choir sound this exciting!” Trosper said during last Friday’s rehearsal.
In addition to the choir’s second-place finish overall, Pyke was honored with a Maestro Award, one of only seven students to earn the honor.
Believing, not hearing, is believing
Don’t believe everything you hear. When Battle Mountain singers took the stage, the spot where the choir was standing had terrible acoustics. They came off the stage disappointed, thinking they had performed poorly. They hadn’t.
“Out in the audience the acoustics were incredible,” Trosper said.
One of the audience members had recorded everything and played it for them. It was dead solid perfect. There was a life lesson learned, Trosper said.
“You can’t always trust what you think you’re hearing. You have to trust the work you’ve put in beforehand,” Trosper said.
To hear the BMHS choir
The choir will perform its competition pieces at the BMHS Spring Choral Concert at 7 p.m., May 22 at Battle Mountain High School. The public is welcome.
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Eagle County Schools has released a draft document detailing how the school district intends to return in-person and hybrid instruction starting Aug. 18.