Chamber Choir At State Solo and Ensemble


Jamie Hude, Writer

Mason High School’s Chamber Choir was nominated to participate and perform in State Solo and Ensemble at Avondale High School on Friday, April 12.

State Solo and Ensemble is an event where individuals can perform in a choir or as a solo performer. After each performance, a judge will rate either the choir or soloist on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. Not only do students perform, they also partake in sight reading.

Chamber Choir performed two songs for states: Dies Irae by Z. Randall Stroope and There is Sweet Music Here by Daniel E. Gawthrop. The ensemble was directed by Jason Konkel and was accompanied by Jennifer Youngman.

Junior Leah Dack was a soloist and ensemble performer. She explained that her favorite part about solo and ensemble is spending time with her friends.

“I just really like to hang out with all of my friends and have a sense of community,” said Junior, Leah Dack.

When asked to explain the two songs that Chamber sang and what her favorite was she responded with an interesting comparison to nature.

“I really like Dies Ire because I get to show off my high vocal range. There Is Sweet Music is really flowy and I think of it as like a really calm river and like sitting on the riverbank and watching this river and seeing the trees and everything. Dies Ire is like a waterfall that falls over and is just really intense and high power.”

Not only did Dack perform with the choir, but she also performed as a soloist. “I did Love’s Philosophy and Homeward Bound,” said Dack. “I picked Homeward Bound because I really like the simplicity of it and I can add a lot of my own dynamics to it and make it individualized. I picked Love’s Philosophy because it contrasts very well. Homeward Bound is upbeat and quick-paced.”

Another student that sang in Chamber Choir and participated as a soloist was sophomore Caitlyn Brown. Brown explained her feelings and the process of being a soloist and apart of the ensemble at states.

“It was an exciting experience and a good opportunity to grow as a vocalist. As a soloist, I prepared two pieces which I chose to bring to regionals and performed them in front of a judge who critiqued me and gave me a score. Since my score was high enough, I made it to states and repeated the process,”  said Brown. “I sang two pieces, Grethcen am Spinrade by Schubert and Youth and Love by Ralph Vaughn Williams.”

According to Brown, she liked the flow of Chamber’s first song, There Is Sweet Music Here.

“My favorite song to sing as an ensemble was There Is Sweet Music Here because we worked very hard on it and it is very beautiful. Dies Ire is very forward and aggressive while There Is Sweet Music Here is gentle and soft, like a step back from the craziness,” said Brown.

Choir teacher, Jason Konkel shared his thoughts about how he felt Chamber Choir did at states. “Chamber Choir had a great performance. We repeated one of our pieces from district festival for this performance and I think we really grew with it and got better musically at it and I think it was a great performance. Two really different pieces so that was fun to perform.”

Konkel added the final score for Chamber Choir overall.

“Chamber Choir ended up getting a 1, a division 1 rating which is an excellent in the choral world but that’s the highest ranking that you can get.”

In Konkel’s view, his favorite song that the choir performed was Dies Ire.

“Out of the two, I like the Dies Ire. It’s pretty powerful and it’s really energetic. The other song is more melodic and lyric and it’s very smooth. It almost has a sweet sense to it and it’s in the title as well so that’s appropriate. It’s an indirect contrast to Dies Ire which is like the “wrath of all days” so they’re pretty different but cool to perform as a little set.”

Konkel concluded with their next important performance coming up.

“Chamber Choir did qualify for state festival but are not going because of the musical so our next performance will be the spring concert and that’s it. So we’re looking at some music for that, some more fun springtime popish music so that’ll be fun. It’s on May 22 in the auditorium here at the high school at 7 o’clock.”

Come out and support Mason’s Chamber Choir at the spring concert on May 22 for an awesome set. You will not want to miss it.