A Cappella Receives National Honor

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Waukee High School’s (WHS) A Cappella Choir was selected to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 28. Led by A Cappella director Amy Hall, the group will perform in the Mormon Tabernacle for an audience comprised of international attendees.

A Cappella is an auditioned varsity choral ensemble open to 50 students in grades 10-12.  A Cappella practices every morning and has been preparing for this opportunity for months. The group has focused on rehearsing the exact performance they will do in Utah, including running their songs in the same order as they will sing them, practicing “choralography” and going through the transitions between songs. With a set that is nearly a half hour in length, the group has been working on building up stamina and focus while onstage.

Only three high school choirs were selected out of the 150 that auditioned across the country. The audition consisted of judges listening to three years’ worth of recordings. A choir was invited to perform if its recordings scored in the top three percent.

“To sing on this national stage is bigger than a conference championship or state title for the music world. This is the highest honor that any choir can receive. I’m so proud of the A Cappella Choir for their dedication and professionalism and I am thrilled they are being recognized with this national honor,” Hall said.

Both of the choirs from the Midwest Region, made up of twelve states, that were chosen are from Iowa: WHS A Cappella and the Iowa State Singers. Before they departed for Salt Lake City, a preview concert featuring these two choirs was held at St. John Lutheran Church in Des Moines on February 17. Since 1960, only four Iowa high school programs have represented the state at this national conference. This will be Waukee High School’s second appearance under two different directors.

The ensemble will sing a commissioned piece written specifically for the event by Dr. Andrea Ramsey, an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award-winning composer from Kansas City. The conference is attended by thousands of choir directors, professional singers, students from high schools and colleges across the country and international choirs from Kenya, Cuba, Tokyo and Great Britain. The conference is held in the acoustic setting of the Mormon Tabernacle, the Salt Palace and Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony. While there, WHS students will join the other choirs and the Utah community to become part of what is being billed as the “world’s largest community sing.”

“I am more than excited! I have the opportunity to see world-renowned ensembles perform in amazing spaces. I am honored to be a member of A Cappella and be able to perform in front of so many intelligent and talented musicians,” senior Taylor Michl said.

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