Singing to State

Ashley Sullivan, Staff Writer

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On April 28th Mount Vernon Small Ensembles made their way to Central Washington University to compete at the state solo ensemble vocal competition.

Bel Canto and Undertones are groups made up of 16 select students in each ensemble that works outside of the classroom every week to perfect songs and compete at regionals and state.

Bel Canto and Undertones placed first at their regional solo ensemble contest at Bellingham High School in January 2017. This guaranteed each of the ensembles a spot to sing in the large ensemble categories at state.

Along with Bel Canto and Undertones, three small groups qualified for state; The Tempo Tantrums, a quartet including Brenda Garcia, Drew Shipman, Isaiah Berberena and Emma Gates, The Bottom Half that included Brandon Valle, Kinnon Mcpeak, Jared Feeney, and Tanner Combel and another group called The Four Tenors with Drew Shipman, Alex Crandall, Tate Cohan, Ulises Zavaleta.

The only group that placed was The Tempo Tantrums. The group placed first in the small mixed ensemble category.

Senior Hannah Brayer is a member of Bel Canto. “It was really disappointing that we didn’t place, because we did really well and I thought that we would, and I know undertones was really upset getting cut off, but we had a much more valuable moment with each other while we were singing that was greater than placing.” stated Hannah.

Brenda Garcia, who was part of the group The Tempo Tantrum” and currently co director for Bel Canto with Cate Marken, is a soprano and placed 2nd at state last year in a duet with Elizabeth Feeney. “After singing with Bel Canto, I felt overwhelmed with a feeling of accomplishment. It was a strong feeling of pride, joy, and sadness that made it so I couldn’t fight back my tears. Something happened when we began singing, it’s hard to explain. We all connected and genuinely felt the meaning of our songs. We came a long way since the beginning of the year and I can confidently say we gave that performance our all. The hard work we put in definitely paid off because that feeling we all shared, is worth more than a trophy.”

Bel Canto overcame and surpassed expectation just by singing at state. Although both groups had hopes to place at state, they performed at their best ability and gave their performances their all.

Undertones student director Drew Shipman, senior, was a part of the group that placed first in small mixed ensembles. “After the performance, I thought it had gone really well; there were some really expressive moments and I felt like we all connected on a really intimate level. I was shocked when it was announced that the Tempo Tantrums placed, but I was also very excited. It was really unexpected because it was our first year singing together, but we just came together and sang sincerely. It was really a cool experience to just organically make music and just be carefree about it. It may have been stressful right before the performance, but once it began, it was really fun and enjoyable.” said Shipman.

The small ensembles felt that they met all the goals that they had for themselves and showed that placing was not what it was all about. Mount Vernon High School continues to live up to a high standard and makes a name for themselves in the community.

The next performance that the groups will have is at their next choir concert June 5th. at McIntyre hall.

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