The Many Going-Ons in Choir

By: Dylan Powers 

Ms. Lisa Blake is the high school band and choir teacher at Knox County R-1. Her choir class has recently been hard at work to improve their voices.

The first choir event to take place this school year was Honor Choir, which occurred on Wednesday, November 3. Culver Honor Choir is an event where many students from many area schools all learn the same pieces of music beforehand, and then they all join together to sing. This was the first year that Culver-Stockton College, based in Canton attempted this event. They hope the success of it will ensure this becomes a yearly thing. 

The morning of the event, everyone in the Knox County choir loaded their robes, boarded the bus, and departed for Canton soon after. When they arrived, they were split up and put into groups of boys and girls. 

“There was like, 110 students from ten different high schools that got to come together and sing, and every director there was actually a Culver Alumn, which was pretty cool,” said Ms. Blake.

The organizers took the boys to a chapel to practice, and the girls stayed on the stage. After everyone practiced, the boys met back at the gym and prepared to sing with the girls. The theater was where they met the conductor, Dr. Scotty Allison.

Senior, Connor Melendez shared, “The director was a really funny guy. He had the perfect sense of humor… very outgoing.” Connor also said that he was very lighthearted with the students, but knew how to keep it serious. 

The choir members practiced their pieces and had lunch afterward. When lunch was over, they had a tour of the campus and then met back up to practice a little more. At around three o’clock, everybody came together and they performed the concert. 

“You could really hear everybody’s voices... like the unity that we all brought coming into this and when we finally had it put together... that aspect of it was really sweet,” Connor said. 

The next big event for them occurred on Saturday, November 6, which was District Choir. District Choir is a bit different because Connor Melendez was the only person eligible to audition for State Choir because he is in the only upperclassman. Like before, they all put their stuff on the bus and headed off to Moberly High School in Moberly. When they arrived, they all went to the gym and split into two sections. The freshman and sophomores sing separately from the juniors and seniors, so they all split up into two groups. The students who made it to Districts were Abigail Becker, Natalie Howerton, Connor Melendez, Hannah Parrish, Agnes Reel, Hailey Shoemaker, and Bella Strange. These students were decided on by judges in Hannibal at District try-outs.

When the choir conductor arrived, everyone practiced their pieces with songs such as “The Cry Of The Children,” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. When their practice was over, all juniors and seniors went into the judging room and performed their audition for the panel of judges. 

Connor says that District choir was fun, intense, and scary. “You really get to see lots of amazing talent that is displayed there," he said.

At Districts, students competed against kids from 1A to 5A schools, which means that it’s very challenging says Blake. If Connor makes it to State, the same process will occur again at a school down in the Lake of the Ozarks. The last person from Knox County to make it to State was Natalie Clark of the Class of 2019. The previous person before Natalie was no one other than Ms. Blake herself.