The 32 students who make up the Page High School Concert Choir returned from the AzACDA State Festival earlier this week with an “Superior with Distinction” for their performances of three memorized pieces, as well as sight reading new and unfamiliar pieces.
Concert Choir Director/Instructor, Lynda Nolan, was very happy with the achievement, but not too surprised.
“This is a great group of kids who love working with each other,” Nolan said. “There is always a positive attitude in the choir room during rehearsal. At the beginning of the school year the choir discussed as a group what their goals were and what would be required to achieve them. The group’s motto this year was, ‘Don’t wait to be extraordinary.’
“They wanted a Superior,” Nolan said. “We had to call some extra rehearsal during spring break that they attended, and because of the long break before the festival we had an after-school rehearsal that everyone worked hard at.”
Nolan is joined by Dawnell Robertson who is the accompanist on the piano.
The Concert Choir first had to prequalify at the Regional Festival last autumn, which they did by receiving a high ranking on festival pieces and passing the Sight Singing Portion of the festival, which also earned them an “Excellent with Distinction.”
There are two sections of the festival. In the first section the choir perform three memorized pieces for three judges, who will then give the choir one of five ratings, with Superior being highest and Excellent falling just below that.
The Concert Choir has been performing and memorizing in preparation for the festival since mid-January.
The scoring rubric is very detailed and broken down, explains Nolan, and the choir’s final score comes from an average from the three judges.
Receiving a rank of Superior is not an easy task, said Nolan.
During the second portion of the judging process, the choir must sight read music they haven’t seen before. The group must then sing it in four parts (SATB). They are not allowed to be accompanied by a piano, nor can the director help them in any way except to keep a beat. They’re graded on note/pitch accuracy, rehearsal technique, sectional work, and musicianship.
They must achieve more than 40 out of 50 points to get the mark of “Distinction”. They received 42.
“They have a great work ethic and positive attitudes,” Said Nolan. “With these kinds of students, a teacher can mold, direct and inspire, and they respond.”