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Choir Competes in CPA

Rosemary Gregg, Writer

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The choir department defended their title while competing in Choral Performance Assessments (CPA) in Pine Bluff at UAPB Feb. 21. First-year sophomore Honeybees member Veronika Tripp sang soprano 1.

“We had a lot going on with All-State, and we didn’t have a lot of time to work on [CPA],” Tripp said. “It took a lot of practice though, because there’s only 16 girls in [Honeybees] and we are for the most part self-taught.”

According to Tripp, CPA was a learning experience for how to improve their choir before going to state.

“We did good, but there’s always room for improvement,” Tripp said. “There’s a lot that we could have done better and there was a lot that we learned from.”

Every choir qualified for State CPA: Camerata, Honeybees, Freshman Advanced, Bella Voce and Men’s Chorus.

“It was very intensive and stressful, but the outcome was amazing,” Tripp said. “We have a state title to defend, and we did that.”

Senior Mallory Sullivan is a member of both Honeybees and Camerata. She sang soprano 2 and alto 1 at CPA.

“We all work really hard throughout the year, ” Sullivan said. “We [just] have to remember what we’re working for.”

Honeybees received straight Division Ones at CPA.

“Our director always tells us that Honeybees are the one group who throw everything together last minute, and it somehow comes together,” Sullivan said. “We were really struggling on these songs, and then the last day, everything just kind of came together.”

According to Sullivan, choir director Julie White always helps Honeybees in whatever way that she can.

“Honeybees is Mrs. White’s pride and joy,” Sullivan said. “We really see her come alive and help us bond and get closer together.”

Choirs sings two songs at CPA, one of which must be in a different language. This year, Honeybees performed a song in Spanish.

“My favorite song was Viva La Musica,” Sullivan said. “It’s a really fun song, it’s quick and it’s a really energizing song.”

The choir department works in January and February preparing their songs for CPA.

“I love that when we get up there and perform, everything is locked in place,” Sullivan said. “When it’s over, Mrs. White has a huge smile on her face, because she knows [that] we’ve done so well.”

According to White, the choir department has been growing rapidly.

“Students are being placed in the right choirs and being given the teaching that they need in order to be successful,” White said.

Last year, only the Honeybees got Division One, but this year four groups received it.

“I think this year was much more successful,” White said. “CPA was more on a grander scale, because we’ve redone the program to have more choirs.”

Every group is changing at least one of their songs for state., Only two songs are required, but Camerata, Bella Voce and Freshman Advanced are going to have to perform three songs at state. Bella Voce is a brand-new choir created by White.

“Basically, I took them from the ground up, and we worked with them on their songs,” White said. “Getting them to be cohesive was the most challenging.”

First-year choir director Tanner Oglesby co-taught with White and led the first-year Men’s Chorus.

“We were super excited because all of the hard work paid off,” Oglesby said. “But now, we’re working just as hard [for state].”

Men’s Chorus received a high 2R, meaning that they were on the verge of getting a Division One. With 20 members, they qualified for state.

“We worked really hard on vocal technique,” Oglesby said. “Boys’ voices change around 7th or 8th grade, so we kind of have to restart at square one of learning how to sing well, and it really showed in the performance,.They worked really hard, and they did a great job.”

Oglesby and Whiteco-teach in order to help the top choirs be more successful.

“It’s been a wild ride, but I think the reason I was able to do so well was because I’ve had so much mentorship from Mrs. White,” Oglesby said. “As a first-year teacher, you get scared that you’re going to do something wrong.”

The choir department is now preparing for CPA State Apr. 14.

“I’ve been really lucky with this group of guys,” Oglesby said. “They work with me very well. Look out for choir, because we’re not done yet.”

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