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Durango choir singers selected for all-state performance

Aspiring performers get opportunity to present their skills on the big stage in Colorado Springs
From left, Hunter Hanscom, Brooklyn Craig, Daniel Johnson and Breeanna Barrett will participate in Colorado All-Star Choir events. Barret will be performing March 9 through March 11 in Denver while the others will be performing on Jan. 28. (Courtesy of Amy Barrett)

For the first time, Durango choir students will be singing in the Colorado Elementary All-State Choir on Jan. 28 at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

Eleven students will make the trip where they will rehearse with renowned conductors and perform a concert that evening. The elementary all-state choir is comprised of fourth through sixth graders from across the state.

About 400 elementary school students are selected across the state to sing in the event after being chosen by their elementary school choir teacher. All of them must go through an audition process and are selected based on a specific criteria. The criteria involves being able to sing a recognizable melody and the ability to echo back rhythmic and melodic patterns. Once selected, they are sent six pieces of music to master before they make the trip on Jan. 28.

“They learn all of the music before they go, and they spend their time working on the finer points of music like singing with emotion, working on dynamics and diction and really making it a beautiful piece,” said Sunnyside Elementary School music teacher Amy Barrett.

Barrett is also the choir teacher for the Durango Children’s Chorale. Eight of the students perform in the Durango Children’s Coral and three are from Sunnyside Elementary.

Students attending the All-Star Choir event are:

  • Brooklyn Craig (Sunnyside Elementary School)
  • Daniel Johnson (Sunnyside Elementary School)
  • Hunter Hanscom (Sunnyside Elementary School)
  • Curtis Miller (Escalante Middle School)
  • Tommy Jensen-Sylvester (Escalante Middle School)
  • Glenn Kanaly (Riverview Elementary School)
  • Liv Candelaria (Mountain Middle School)
  • Flora Crandal (Mountain Middle School)
  • Brigham Barrett (Mountain Middle School)
  • Maggie Gerela (home-school)
  • Adeline Crouch (home-school)

Also Breeanna Barrett, a home-school student, was selected to sing in the Colorado All-State Middle School Choir. She was the only Durango student to be selected for all-state middle school choir and will be performing on March 9 through March 11 in Denver. The audition process becomes more complicated once the student reaches the middle school level. Students must sing two songs they’ve never performed and sing a cappella.

Middle school students spend two days rehearsing with their guest conductor to ensure their performance is fine-tuned and understanding what it takes to create a quality piece of music.

Amy Barrett said the experience is one that will provide skills for students outside of music referencing Durango School District 9-R’s portrait of a graduate criteria.

“As they grow up, they're not afraid to get in front of people and speak their mind or have an opinion,” Barrett said. “They're agile thinkers because they have to be able to respond to a conductor and think on their toes.”

For some it can also be a great resume builder for those who want to enter a career in music. Barrett said the preparation and auditions at the high school and middle school levels offer great development tools to enter a music profession. It also gives students the opportunity to appreciate music on a deeper level whether they do it professionally or as a hobby.


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