MHS Choir members perform at state conference

By Chris Swick
July 13, 2015
Nicholas Griggs

Several members of the McPherson High School Choir were selected to perform with the Kansas Choral Directors Assocation All-State Men's and Women's Choir July 8-9 Topeka.

The men's choir, in it's inaugural year, had 98 members represented by 21 high schools statewide. MHS had 10 students that contributed to the six pieces performed. They were Darrius Armstrong, Jacob Rogers, Thomas Smith, John Suenram, Sean Reynolds, Tate Johnson, Dylan Kramer and recent graduates Riley Bahre, Dayln Chapman and Jaydon Evans.

The Men's choir participants prepared and performed six pieces: Conditor Alme Siderum, Guillaume Dufay;Cover Me With The Night, Andrea Ramsey;Es Wird Ein Stern Aus Jakob Aufgehn, Felix Mendelssohn;Star of the County Down, Douglas E. Wagner;Sure On This Shining Night, Samuel Barber; andDisappear, Gabe Dixon and Ty Stevens.

The All-State Men's Choir conductor/clinician was Jacob Naverud the Director of Choral Activities at Emporia State University. Naverud not only served as their conductor/clinician but, he arranged several of the pieces the Men's Choir performed.

The women's choir, meanwhile, also had 10 of the 82 singers from 19 schools across Kansas. MHS was represented by Tara Almquist, Kiley Delaney, Priscilla Martinez, Paige Rickman, Anna Bahr, Breckon Kaufman, Laynie Moore, Olivia Rettig and Ruth Whitacre.

Kiley Delaney and Paige Rickman were both picked for their second straight year.

The women's choir performed five pieces:This Indeed Is Music, Andrea Ramsey;Stabat Mater, Domenico Scarlatti;Dubula,Stephen Hatfield;Travelin' Home, Andrea Ramsey;Will The Circle Be Unbroken?, J. David Moore.

“The students spent several hours preparing music ahead of time dating back to the start of the summer,” Nicholas Griggs, MHS Choral Music Director, said. “For many of the students it was just one of several things they've had to juggle since the summer started. Several students have been busy in the workforce, others participated in our recent community musical presentation 'Cinderella' and some were active in numerous sports camps and summer SPS workouts. These students don't just represent some of the best choral students at McPherson High School, they also represent some of the high school's top athletes and scholars.”

The All-State Women's Choir conductor/clinician was Dr. Andrea Ramsey, the Associate Director of Choral Activities at Colorado University in Boulder. In addition to serving as a clinician all over the world, Dr. Ramsey is one of the nations top up-and-coming choral composers with over 70 published choral works including pieces that were performed by the Kansas Men's and Women's All-State Choirs.

“As their choral director.” Griggs said, “I was overjoyed that our students got to work with two top choral clinicians that are in high demand all over the world and a living composer in Dr. Andrea Ramsey who even spent a few years in Lawrence at the Univ. of Kansas working towards and receiving her Master of Music degree.”

The concert was part of the annual KCDA Summer Convention and was held at Grace Episcopal Cathedral in Topeka.