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WHS choral students earn honor choir selection

Worthington High School students Sarah DeSmith (from left), Davis Moore and Kalea Appel will represent WHS in upcoming honor choirs. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Three Worthington High School concert choir members are taking their individual musical talents to new audiences and bigger stages.

WHS students Davis Moore, Sarah DeSmith and Kalea Appel were each selected by blind audition to represent WHS by participating and performing in American Choral Directors Association honor choirs.

WHS Director of Choral Activities Kerry Johnson said all three are very dedicated musicians.

“They all put in a lot of time working on their crafts,” Johnson said. “One of the things I very much appreciate about them is they understand it’s a process. It takes diligence and consistent practice to improve as a musician or artist.”

Moore, a junior, will perform today in the 2018 Central/North Central ACDA High School Honor Choir at the Harris Theatre in Chicago, Ill.

“Davis is in the most elite ensemble available to him this year, which is really exciting,” Johnson said. “To be chosen (for the regional choir), you have to be a standout singer, and Davis certainly is.”

The regional honor choir that drew students from 10 midwestern states is under the direction of Jefferson Johnson, director of choral activities at the University of Kentucky.

“He’s a very well trained conductor and working with us pretty intensely,” Moore said Thursday during a rehearsal break.

The bass II vocalist said the beginning of the two-day rehearsal leading up to today’s concert already proved to be more challenging than his previous involvement in last year’s Minnesota ACDA 9/10 Honor Choir as a sophomore.

“It’s more prestigious and the music is more difficult, too,” he said.

That challenge hugely drove Moore’s decision to again audition for an honor choir.

“I’ve always really enjoyed singing,” he said. “I like to challenge myself in singing and other musical activities and see how far I can go. It’s a good opportunity to learn more about myself as a musician and a nice opportunity to meet new people and see different places.”

Moore is also a member of Trojan Express (a select 20 participants covering all vocal parts) and Vox (a men’s choir), and is cast in the spring musical, “Into the Woods.”

While Johnson was not aware of the total number of students that auditioned for the regional honor choir, she said the state’s 9/10 honor choir in which DeSmith and Appel are participating also had a highly competitive selection process.

The two sophomores, both altos, were chosen from roughly 2,000 auditions for the honor choir averaging between 250 and 300 Minnesota students selected. Not only were they selected from the competitive auditions this year, but they were as freshman last year, too.

“That certainly speaks to their caliber of their musicianship,” Johnson said.

DeSmith and Appel — who will perform Feb. 22 in Minneapolis — will be singing in separate choirs. DeSmith will sing in a mixed choir, and Appel will participate in an all-women’s choir.

“The choirs are both equals, but different,” Johnson said, noting that the all-women’s choir was added as more qualified women began auditioning than men, causing an unbalanced mixture.

Both DeSmith and Appel agreed that their positive experience in last year’s 9/10 honor choir heavily influenced their decision to audition again this year.

“You're singing with a group of people that really care about music and what they're singing about,” DeSmith said. “It's a really unique experience. You could tell everyone wanted to be there and make music together.”

“It was really cool to be with so many people that were really enthusiastic about singing,” Appel said. “I think just getting to perform with a new group of people is really exciting.”

DeSmith said she is again excited to sing under a new director, as its a way to learn new techniques and better herself as a singer.

For Appel, singing in an all-women’s choir is exciting.

“It will be a different experience because I’ve never been in an all-women’s choir,” she said.

DeSmith and Appel are also in the spring musical.

Alyssa Sobotka

Alyssa joined The Globe in July 2017 and covers education and crime beats. The Nebraska native earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. In her own sarcastic tone, her blog, Aimlessly Navigating, recounts the reality, pitfalls and triumphs of a young 20-something navigating to maturity. Follow her on Twitter: @alyssasobotka

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