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February 19-- Congratulations to four Vidalia City Schools singers who earned the right to perform with the prestigious Georgia Music Educators Association All State Chorus for 2019.

vhsallstatechorus(L-R) J.R. Trippe Middle School 8th grader Autumn Harris, Vidalia High School juniors Walker Wheeler and Luke Stinnet and J.R. Trippe 7th grader Landry Wheeler were selected for All State membership this year.

Each student proved their talents in a rigorous audition process before professional judges. The 2019 All State Chorus performed a beautiful concert in Athens this past Saturday.

Students who elect to enter All-State auditions endure a two-tiered elimination process. The first audition consists of three “a capella” scales, a prepared art song (solo), and three sight-reading exercises. Sight-reading means that students must read music that they have never seen before and accurately sing it before the judge after studying it for only thirty seconds. Over 8000 students from across the state competed this year for positions in this chorus. Some were selected to go on to the second tier of auditions that were held in January. This final audition required all students to sing their vocal lines from the actual literature that the All State Chorus performs in concert.

Only the finest singers from the final audition make the cut, and these four Vidalia students did just that. GMEA awarded Walker Wheeler (son of Buddy and Tina Wheeler) his fourth consecutive All State membership. Luke Stinnett (son of Eric and Michelle Stinnett) is an All State member for the third consecutive year, while Autumn Harris (daughter of Brent and Carrie Harris), and the Landry Wheeler (the younger son of Buddy and Tina Wheeler) made All State for the first time. Stinnett also performed in 2017 as a member of the All National Honor Chorus in Orlando, a position only available to All State Chorus members who audition. Walker Wheeler scored a 100% perfect second audition score, obtaining a gold seal on his All State certificate. Harris is the first female chorus student to make All State from VCSS in many years. Because so many females audition from across the state, it is much more difficult to make the cut as a girl.

Vidalia students compete against students from school systems of every size and classification in the state for membership in All State. Larger school systems have several distinct advantages over VCSS, including more funding and more choral staff (VCSS is the only system represented at All State with students from more than one school with only one choral director on staff), yet our students proved they are the best in the state. Of the 66 AA-size high schools in the state (excluding AA magnet arts academies with audition-forced limited enrollment in larger school systems), VCHS was one of seven schools with All State members, and our students represented 20% of the double-A members. JRTMS was one of four middle schools in Georgia feeding AA high schools, with our students representing 28.5% of AA All State members. No other AA school system in our GMEA district or GHSA region was represented except magnet arts schools, and no single-A public schools were represented in the entire state. VCSS remains the system of choice for gifted and talented students in our area, providing opportunities to excel usually afforded only to larger school systems.

Prior to the Allstate performance, the students endured 11 hours of rehearsals with the group, and presented a wonderful concert on the Classic Center stage. The world's finest choral conductors covet an invitation to conduct the GMEA All-State Choruses, considered among the finest in the nation. Congratulations to Autumn Harris, Luke Stinnett and Landry and Walker Wheeler, and to John Morgan, Choral Director at Vidalia Comprehensive High School and J. R. Trippe Middle School.

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