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Five Vail Valley music students selected for Colorado All State choir

Local vocalists soar to musical heights

EDWARDS — Not everyone can sing, and almost no one sings like these students.

Five Eagle County high school students were among 2,000 Colorado vocalists who took a shot at the All State Choir. Not many made it, but they did.

Battle Mountain Choral Director Alexandra Trosper took four vocalists: Ethan Pyke, Ariana Lipton, Madi Raichart and Vail Christian’s Langley Cerovich. They all made it. Eagle Valley’s Andrea Grewe also made it.

All State takes all year

Rehearsals started in August, auditions started last October. Don’t get the impression that every local vocalist who auditioned made it. They’re eliminated through regional rounds before heading to Denver for their final audition in February.

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To be in the All State choir they have to learn all sorts of musical skills, some of them in Italian, French and German. They’re judged on things like: a prepared solo in a foreign language, sight reading, tone quality, intonation, accuracy, aural skills and chordal analysis.

Each student is judged on a 100-point scale.

This year the sopranos had to score 92 or above to make the All State choir, Trosper said. Five Eagle County students made it. Three missed it by one point.

The disappointment can be tough for those told that they were good, but not quite good enough.

“It’s hard,” Trosper said.

She asked them, “Are you a better musician from everything you did?”

“Yes,” came the universal reply.

“That’s the point. If you grew, that’s the success,” Trosper correctly told them.

“The ones who didn’t make it still came down to support their mates who did,” Trosper said.

The judges are not just someone’s dad who used to play bass in a garage band. They’re people like Julie Yu, co-director of Choral Studies at Kansas State University; Joni Jensen, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Voice at Texas Woman’s University, and Cara Tasher, Director of Choral Studies at the University of North Florida.

More to learn

If the singers make it to the final round, they’re given six pieces of music to learn on their own before they re-audition in February. If they make that audition, they get to stay, and they’re in the All State choir.

Then the real fun starts, rehearsing for days on end, 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. They do not rehearse until they get it right, they rehearse until they cannot get it wrong.

And then it’s showtime, performing for a sold-out house in Denver’s legendary Buell Theater, on the same stage as hundreds of stars from the entertainment industry, some as talented as they are.

“It’s an ‘A’ House. Not many people get to perform there,” Trosper said.

They do a balcony sing the day before the concert at the Embassy Suites in Denver; 16 balconies packed with crystal clear voices.

“It’s a spiral of sound,” Trosper said.

Traditions and traditionally great

Colorado’s All State choirs have been around since 1960 and are nationally recognized, Trosper said. Lots of representatives from states show up to see how they do it. Exceptionally well, is how they do it.

“The most prestigious recognize it and understand how difficult it is to get into,” Trosper said.

Trosper is in her fifth year teaching at Battle Mountain. 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 the Vocal Institute in Michigan.

As for her All State singers, some will pursue a music career, but most won’t. Lipton and Cerovich want to be surgeons. Pyke’s plans point to engineering. Raichart, though, plans to study music.


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