W-K Students Paul Cushman and Elijah Hager to Sing with 2017-18 MN All-State Choir
W-K juniors Paul Cushman and Elijah Hager have been selected to sing with the 2017-18 Minnesota All-State Choir. There are three All-State Choirs (mixed, women’s, men’s) which each rehearse night and day for a week in the summer, put on a concert, and then come back in mid-February to rehearse again and then perform at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis for the culmination of the annual Minnesota Music Educators Association convention. After going through an intensive audition process, Paul and Elijah were both selected from about 1800 of the state’s best students (who were auditioning to be in an All-State music ensemble) to sing in the mixed (SATB) choir, which will feature about 100 of the Minnesota’s finest high school singers from across the state.
This is quite an honor to have two students selected to the Minnesota All-State Choir as usually only about two students each year are typically selected from all of southeastern Minnesota. The last time W-K vocal students auditioned for and were selected to All-State Choir was Luke Smit (2010-11), Luke Smit (2011-12), and Andrew Kreye (2012-13). The Minnesota All-State Music ensembles began in 1944 when famed choral director Robert Shaw directed a 1000-voice student choir accompanied by a 125-piece student orchestra at the annual MMEA gathering. Reportedly, Shaw created quite a stir by taking off his shirt during rehearsals. In 1975, the three All-State Organizations (band, choir, orchestra) performed together for the first time. One of the highlights of the All-State tradition is the participation of many nationally known guest conductors.
W-K vocal music director Dean Gunnarson was thrilled that both Paul and Elijah were selected to this next year’s All-State Choir. He noted that they will undoubtedly have a great choral experience as well as make friends with many of the top musicians across the state. Both singers can be heard performing at W-K high school vocal music events and for other events across the region.