Kingston vocalists make J.H. all-state
by Jon Dohrer
Kingston Public Schools
OKLAHOMA CITY — Three Kingston students have been singled out for all-state vocal music honors.
Freshman Lauren Johnson and Regan Stephenson were named to the All-OCDA State Junior High Chorus, selected by the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association. The two will join other all-staters in rehearsals and a performance Jan. 10-12 in Oklahoma City.
Seventh grader Jasey Kite was selected for the All-OMEA State Children's Chorus, organized by the Oklahoma Music Educators Association. That group will perform at the state convention Jan. 16-19 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Johnson earned the all-state designation for the second consecutive year, and Kingston Vocal Music Director Gay Lynn Allen said that experience helped her.
"She knew the effort and preparation it takes," Allen said. "She is a hard worker, and she's also very talented musically."
Johnson said auditioning after qualifying last year was an advantage and a disadvantage.
"It was a little of both," Johnson said. "Because I had made it once, so that helped, But then it was also a little more pressure to make it again."
Allen said first year all-stater Stephenson's feat was equally impressive, because this is her first year in vocal music since elementary school.
"But Regan is the type who sets goals and then starts working as hard as she can to achieve them," Allen said. "She has spent many, many hours learning her music."
Stephenson said she had to overcome her nerves during the audition.
"I was very nervous, because I had never done anything like this before. My knees were shaking," Stephenson said.
Johnson, who sings Alto II, and Stephenson, an Alto I, went through a two-stage audition process. They learned three songs, and performed passages from two of those selections.
"But they didn't find out which songs they were going to sing until they got there," Allen said.
Round 1 whittled the number of applicants from about 1,000 down to about 120 per part. The final audition further pared that number to 20 per part.
The selection process for the children's chorus was conducted differently. Applicants submitted CD recordings of themselves performing the Latin "Jubilate Deo." Allen, who has served as a judge for the audition process for many years, said submitting a recording is more difficult than a live audition in at least one regard.
"It has to be perfect," Allen said. "It's not like you just go in and sing and you're done. You have to record it and play yourself back and keep working to improve it."
Kite won't even venture a guess as to how many times she performed the song.
"A lot!" she said. "I did it over and over."
Allen said Kite is an unusual musical talent.
"She has that innate ability," the director said. "You can teach them the notes, but they have to have that beautiful voice and the talent, and Jasey does."