WHS vocalists and ensembles perform well at recent events

Hitting a high note

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T Walker Anderson, Luke Block, Cortney Gonzalez and Austin Smith-Brown are all smiles after performing in the Washington Music Educators Symphonic Choir All-State concert recently. The four were selected out of hundreds of students from across Washington state.

Walking through the hallways of Washougal High School last week, students were greeted by a large, orange and black poster congratulating various choir and band members.

And there were several reasons to give kudos: On Monday, Feb. 20, several students performed with the Washington Music Educators All-State Honor Symphonic Choir and Wind Ensemble.

In addition, many of the same vocalists and instrumentalists performed well at the Regional Solo and Ensemble Contest the following weekend.

“This is great,” said Jen Mahorney, choir director. “We’ve been preparing since right after Christmas. There are some pretty stellar schools in the region, It’s fortunate that we have this level of competition.”

Students selected for state honors include: All-State Wind Ensemble, percussion, Crystal Saltmarsh; All-State Choir, Cortney Gonzalez (soprano), Luke Block (bass), T Walker Anderson (tenor)and Austin Smith-Brown (tenor).

It was Anderson’s and Gonzalez’s first time selected to the honor choir. To earn a spot, they had to send in an audition tape with three vocal exercises and sing, “America the Beautiful.

They joined approximately 300 students from all over Washington state, where they rehearsed seven different songs for their Feb. 20 concert.

“It was a really cool experience,” Gonzalez said. “The people really wanted to be there and were willing to listen to constructive criticism.”

Anderson agreed.

“I thought it was nice how 300 people could all sing together,” he said.

Wind ensemble members had to do an audition which includes performing with 10 different instruments. Of those who auditioned, 65 were selected from around the state.

“Just the sheer amount of instruments that they have to be able to play and the amount of material they have to learn is phenomenal,” said Kelly Ritter, band director.

At the recent regional contest, several students were selected as alternates for the upcoming state competition in April.

“There is a strong possibility that at least two or three of them will go,” Mahorney said.

First alternates for band are: Katie Ladwig (trumpet), Tyler Odenthal (timpani), Saltmarsh (snare drum) and Julia Larson (tenor/baritone saxophone). Second alternates are David Choi (trumpet), Hitomi Seto (piano), Sydney Niemi (tenor/baritone saxophone) and the WHS Brass Quartet of Josef Elsensohn, Jeff Bowen, Amber Ronhaar and Kaitlyn Johnson.

Choir members included the McLeod Turner, second alternate (bass) and the WHS Large Mixed Ensemble of Gonzales, Block, Anderson, Alexis Jensen, Lauren Tofell, Zoe West, Sonja Adams, Mikayla Harris, Emilie Ewing, Amara McQuinn, Bret Wade, Gage Dally, James MaGuire, Dylan Ritchey and Nick Stevens.