Photos: Rehearsal in the Hemphill Music Complex; Alum and camp volunteer, Nancy Jones, plays piano
A fledgling choir camp, started only a few years ago, is helping students go further than they ever have before.
Dr. Clell Wright, Hardin-Simmons University Director of Choral Activities and Logsdon Endowed Chair of Church Music, along with Dr. Dee Romines, associate professor of music education and director of HSU Chorale, started the summer camp for high school students because they felt so many of the students who were getting into the All-State Choir were coming out of the larger cities in Texas.
“There are so many opportunities for students in larger areas to polish their vocal skills,” says Wright. All-State Choir Camp offers students in West Texas the opportunity to learn the All-State Choir music during a rigorous, week-long residential summer camp.
“The number of campers has grown every year,” says Wright. “And we have had quite a few students who have attended the camp and gone on to make All-State Choir.”
Wright says competition for the All-State Choir is rigorous and extremely competitive. “The HSU camp offers the first look at the music selections the students will use as they compete. The HSU voice faculty also gives free voice lessons as part of the camp.”
Students attending the camp this week are learning from a wide variety of clinicians who come from programs statewide. Students also learn skills from HSU professors, all with doctorates in various vocal performance areas.
At the end of the week students perform the skills they have learned in a free concert in the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall.
Wright says about 500 students will be chosen for three choirs, which make up the All-State Choir. “Thousands of students compete,” he says. “While many of the students chosen for the choir in the past have come from the Metroplex and other large cities, now many of our students are having an impact. That’s what we want to do at this camp, provide instruction to our Big Country students to make sure more of them go all the way to state.”
The first tryouts for the All-State Choir will be in September. Students making the first cut will move on to area tryouts in February.