• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS students named to KMEA All-State chorus

WCHS STUDENTS, from left, Brodie Blair, Maeve Denton, Madison Geilear, Esther Bradshaw, Riley Jerdon, Connor Akers and Kevin Lausche, along with Jonah Crockett and Garrett Garwood (not pictured), were chosen to perform in one of the Kentucky Music Educators Association All-State choruses. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Six students from Woodford County High School were named to the Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) All-State High School Chorus, while three other WCHS students were named to the Kentucky Junior High Chorus.

WCHS students spent three days in Louisville last month working with nationally- and internationally-renowned clinicians, WCHS director of choirs Cooper Schrimsher said.

“It’s an awesome experience for directors because we get new tools to … bring to our classrooms, and (our students) get an awesome experience – singing and performing with the best kids in the state. So it’s pretty incredible,” said Schrimsher.

WCHS juniors Connor Akers, Esther Bradshaw, Garrett Garwood and Kevin Lausche, along with sophomores Jonah Crockett and Riley Jerdon, were selected for the All-State High School Chorus through an audition process while performing in quartets for judges.

Kevin, who has participated in KMEA for five years, said he enjoys making connections with people from across the state who share his passion for vocal performance. Other WCHS students share that passion.

“It’s a very different sound when you have hundreds of people who are singing music that they love to sing,” said Connor. “…You grow from being around people who love doing what you do.”

Riley said she had never been to KMEA before, but she also enjoyed embracing her love for music alongside other teens with a similar passion.

“Everybody came there for music,” said Esther. “…We all have that common interest in liking music. So it was just really neat to be able to do something you’re so passionate about with other people who are just as passionate about it.”

At KMEA, these students learned five different pieces of music over three days.

“It’s like all-day singing and you’re so vocally distressed by the time of the performance,” said Kevin, a WCHS junior, “but it’s so worth it.”

Learning how to sing – sometimes in a different language – during 19 hours of intense training for a performance in front of hundreds was “a crazy” experience for Riley, she said.

WCHS freshman Brodie Blair, Madison Geilear and Maeve Denton were chosen for the Junior High Chorus based on recordings that demonstrated their vocal range and abilities to judges. They also gave a performance, but after only two days of intense training.

“I wasn’t really expecting to get in (to KMEA)…, but knowing that I did, I was really excited,” said Maeve, who auditioned for but didn’t make last year’s all-state chorus.

“It’s a lot of fun too.”

Now in his second year at WCHS, Schrimsher hopes to build on this year’s successes. “It’s just awesome to have such high musicianship every single year,” he said. “And we hope to keep promoting that to other students here at Woodford … You can be a part of this experience.”

Four students represented WCHS at KMEA a year ago and Schrimsher said he would like those numbers to rise every year.

“It’s just a lifting up,” he said. “The more kids who are able to make state, it shows that we have a good, quality program here where students cannot only be a part of the program here, but they can share their music across the state.” And being in Louisville for three days becomes an opportunity for his students to make lifelong connections with vocal music students from across the state, he added.

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