By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Ten vocal students among Del Norte, Poway and Westview high schools are preparing to perform at the All-State Honor Choirs concert in March.
Their selection was based on auditions during the fall at regional honor choirs. “This is like making it to state for sports,” said Poway High Choral Director Nancy Gray. “It is a high recognition.”
Gray added the American Choral Director’s Association “accepts only the most talented students from the live audition, which involves sight-reading, tonal memory, theory scales and performance of an Italian art song.”
Selected for the Women’s Honor Choir is Poway High senior Regan Watt, an alto, and Westview High junior Diandra Almasco, an alto; senior Atoosa Emami, an alto; and senior Jacqueline Peng, a soprano. Selected for the Men’s Honor Choir is Westview junior Christopher Phu, a tenor.
Those selected for the Mixed Honor Choir are Del Norte High freshman Ryan Simeon, a tenor, and senior Markayla Stroubakis, an alto; Poway High junior Rebecca Dhillon, an alto, and senior Allison Leete, a soprano; and Westview junior Jacob Mobley, a bass.
All are first-time selectees with the exception of Peng and Dhillon who have been selected twice, and Leete who has been selected three times.
Del Norte Choral Director Keith Sattely said he is especially proud of his students since Del Norte’s vocal music program is very new. “It’s a testament to their (work) ethic and ability,” Sattely said.
“It is such a wonderful experience,” said Westview Choral Director Crystal Stone. “Most who audition are already achieving at a high level and are usually the cream of the crop at their respective high schools. Out of about 500 auditions, roughly 270 are accepted into the Southern California Vocal Association’s Regional Honor Chorus.
“After that experience, the top singers from the northern and southern California regions are selected for the All-State Honor Choir,” Stone said. “It is very prestigious and exciting.”
The students and their choir directors — who will learn the music in advance — will travel to Sacramento for the three-day event that includes more than five hours of rehearsal the first day, eight hours the second plus additional rehearsals if needed prior to the March 22 concert.
Stone said they will work with renowned conductors and singers “who have a strong passion and talent for music.” Stone said previous selectees have returned “with a renewed passion and share all the knowledge they learned with our high school choir.”