By Jennifer Archibald
Four Bennett County students had the honor of joining over 1,000 of the states best high school vocal and instrumental musicians.
Senior Daniel Winsand, freshman Nicole Porch, junior Carson Knecht and senior Tasha Hiland were selected to represent the school at the All State Chorus and Orchestra Oct. 26-28 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls.
The annual event is the largest interscholastic high school music activity and is co-sponsored by the South Dakota High School Activities Association and the South Dakota Music Educators Association.
Students were required to audition for the privilege to represent their school at the event. They joined 950 singers and a 160 piece orchestra representing 155 SD schools
All four students traveled to Sioux Falls where they were involved in rigorous rehearsals for two days, culminating in the Grand concert on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. The event was televised live on SD PBS.
“Former student Kaitlyn Hellman will also be giving us a tour of the Augustana campus the evening of the 26th,” said Arielle Tiensvold Bennett County Music Director.
The event gives the students the opportunity to work with nationally recognized conductors who have the expertise to make the concert truly outstanding and exposes them to repertoire they may not have previously been exposed to.
This years guest choral conductor is Tim Seelig of San Francisco, Calif. He is a conductor, singer, teacher and motivational speaker known for his eclecticism, enthusiasm and sense of humor. He is the author of seven books and DVD’s on choral technique. He has conducted around the world, including at Carnegie Hall.
Michael Gerdes the Director of Orchestras at San Diego State University will serve as the guest orchestra conductor. He currently is the conductor of the San Diego State Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra and Opera Orchestra.
The South Dakota Music Educators Association also recognized several schools and individuals at the event, including recognition of the four year all state students.
Winsand has been selected for the event for the last six years.
“Eighth grade students can attend and try out for All State Choir. Daniel’s seventh grade year the school was short in numbers and needed another male voice and so the school asked permission to send him as a seventh grader and he got the full six year experience,” said Tiensvold.
“He’s a pretty driven kid and he’s talented in his singing, that’s for sure,” she said.
“I’ve never heard of anyone going for six years. It’s going to be a sad ending just because I’ve had so much fun at it,” said Winsand who will be attending South Dakota State University next year studying athletic training and business management.
“My very favorite part of All State Choir is the very first time we sing a song. It sends chills down my spine. It’s amazing to have a 1,000 other kids from all over the state with all different variations of singing voices and hear how it all comes together. It’s beyond anything you can imagine. It’s crazy that a bunch of high schoolers can sound that amazing,” he said.
Winsand said his singing voice has changed a lot over the last six years improving his range by two octaves from second bass to first soprano.
“I encourage the younger kids to definitely join chorus because of the amount of fun it is and the people you get to meet along the way is incredible. I’ve got to meet a lot of really cool people from all over the state. Just keep singing you never know where it will take you,” he said.