When Gay Lynn Allen was asked what aspects of music were Olivia White's strong suits, she was only partly kidding when she responded, "Everything!"
Apparently, the all-state judges agreed, because Olivia was recently named to the All-OMEA Women's Chorus, selected by the Oklahoma Music Educator's Association.
Allen points to the fact that there are musicians on both sides of White's family, and that she grew up around music as partial reasons for her success. But there is an even more important reason White is an all-state vocalist as a junior.
"She is just such a hard worker," Allen said. "She has spent so much time preparing the pieces she had to learn — not just in class with me, but on her own. She is willing to put in the time it takes to be successful."
Olivia is the daughter of Theresa White and Oliver White, the latter of whom is a noted area guitarist and vocalist. Oliver's parents were also musicians, and in fact taught Allen when she was young.
Olivia's mother is also artistic, and has been an ardent supporter of Olivia in her musical endeavors.
From that environment came Olivia, who plays three instruments, sings and writes music and has plans to pursue a music career after high school. She plays saxophone in the high school band, and also plays guitar and piano. She feels most at home when she is singing and accompanying herself on the piano.
The path to the All-OMEA Women's Chorus is an arduous one that involves two try-outs. Last month, she passed the first wave, earning a spot in the final auditions last week. The process narrowed the field from about 1,000 applicants to just 50 girls who were selected.
White was selected as an Alto II. Singing alto often involves singing harmony, which suits Olivia well. Having learned to play and sing by ear, she has developed a keen ear for music.
In fact, the ability to play instruments by listening has resulted in her one weak suit — she doesn't read music well. Allen said Olivia set to work to remedy that shortcoming this year, and has already made impressive strides.
Olivia plans to continue to pursue a music career beyond high school, and hopes to work in musical theatre on Broadway.