For those of you unfamiliar with the TMEA All-State Choir audition process, here is a summary, and some frequently asked questions regarding this beneficial and amazing experience! We strongly encourage participation in this optional competition, as it will most certainly grow you as a musician and a vocalist.
How do the auditions work? Students will sing a portion of two or three songs from the list of all-state music, called a "cut." They will sing the cut by themselves for a group of five judges who are hidden behind a screen. The judges consider the knowledge of the music and quality of singing and rank students from highest to lowest. The scoring is on a 300 point scale using Olympic scoring system. (The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and the rest are averaged together.) At the REGION level of a competition, all students will also sight-read a short line of music. Students are given 30 seconds to study the line and then sight-sing the exercise. In our region (Region 26), there are four levels of the audition process: District, Region, Pre-Area, and Area. The highest-ranking singers judged at the Area level qualify to perform in a TMEA All-State Choir. These All-State students participate in three days of rehearsals directed by nationally recognized conductors during the annual state TMEA Clinic/Convention. Their performances before thousands of attendees bring this extraordinary event to a close. The All-State audition process for high school choir students leads ultimately to qualifications in one of four All-State Choirs that perfor at the annual TMEA Clinic/Convention: Women's Choir, Men's Choir, Mixed Choir, and a Small-School Mixed Choir (2-year pilot program beginning in 2014-2015).
How much will it cost? The audition fee is a one-time cost of $20. Students must also purchase original copies of the audition pieces (unless they have already purchased music, say, from a collegiate summer choir camp). Our packets range in price from $9-$20, depending on the number of pieces purchased.
How much time does it take? A man on his way to a concert asked a passerby, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The man’s reply: “Practice, Practice, Practice!” Yes, the best way to make the All-State choir is to practice more than your competition. We will provide you with audio CDs that can help you rehearse the music at home, in your spare time. We also highly encourage voice lessons, and/or attendance of our after school sectional rehearsals. (The schedule for sectionals will be determined and posted by the start of the school year.)
Do I have a chance to make it? There’s no getting around the fact that it is very difficult to make the All-State choir. Over 15,000 students start the process in August and only about 350 make an All-State choir. Although the odds seem very long, East View HS has had at least one student make an All-State Choir in the past two years. Gisele Tay earned a spot in the All-State Women’s Choir in 2013, and Ronnie Stringer earned a spot in the All-State Mixed Choir in 2014. We also have a number of students earn spots in the All-Region Choir! This is a great honor as well, and worthy goal, especially for younger singers in the process.
Is it worth all this time and effort? Consistent practice, which requires a good deal of time and effort, is the key to success. But yes, it is very much worth the time and effort. Even if a student does not make it past the first audition, the lessons learned and the vocal growth that will occur will improve the individual singer. Students that make the All-Region Choir will enjoy the experience of working with an excellent clinician and singing with talented and music loving students from around the area. Students that make the All-State choir will be recognized as dedicated and high quality musicians. All-State singers get to work with a renowned All-State clinician, meet like-minded and highly talented students from across the State, are a part of the largest music convention in the world, and have the privilege of performing in an awesome All-State Concert attended by nearly every choir director in the State of Texas! And don’t forget, parents… Earning a spot in the Texas All-State Choir also includes participation in TMEA’s College Night, where universities from all over the country recruit All-State performers with scholarships! So, we believe that YES! it is worth all the time and effort.
"I started choir my freshman year not knowing anything about music in general. No sightreading experience, no choral singing, or choir directors. I mean, this was my first year in an actual choir program with sightreading and harmonies and parts. It was a little intimidating at first, but my love for singing overshadowed that just enough to try out for this obscure TMEA process (at least to me). This music was at a level I couldn't fathom. College level music to a newbie choir kid who just loved to sing. Well, I picked it up. And loved it. A lot. Even though I didn't realize what I was exactly doing, Mrs. Douglas guided me through it for which I will be forever grateful. From just one year, I learned how to sightread, sing with choral technique, and develop a love for choir music that I never would have imagined. If you wonder if this process is as hard as any of us say it is... Yes. Very. If you wonder if this process reaps any rewards... Yes. It's hard, but the return is worth ten times the effort in the long run. You have a family of choir kids with two amazing directors who will help you through this and anything, including TMEA."
Ronnie Stringer, TMEA All-State Mixed Choir Member, 2014
TMEA All-State Women's Choir Rehearsal conducted by Jeffrey Redding, February 2014. Rehearsing "Sweepin' Through the City" by James Hemdon, arranged by M. Roger Holland
TMEA All-State Mixed Choir Rehearsal conducted by Elena Sharkova, February 2014. Rehearsing "Great God Almighty" arr. Stacey V. Gibbs