CALDWELL – The Caldwell High School Choir competed in choral competitions in February and March and will move on to the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) state competition on April 29.
Maizee Bunner, choir teacher, said the choir competed in solo and ensemble competitions in February. She said five soloists prepared pieces for judging and two ensembles also performed. She said that due to COVID protocols, the largest group admitted was six students.
Bunner said the chorus received I ratings for all five solos and the two ensembles. OMEA follows a five roman numeral scoring scheme used to assess events. I is the highest rating, with V being the lowest. Bunner explained that OMEA is considering an I rating “an excellent performance with very few technical errors and an example of truly musical expression.”
Bunner said this is the first choral competition CHS has participated in since January 2020.
“My students have been wonderful over the past two years – they have continued to prepare music for local concerts, although we didn’t always know if we were even allowed to have a performance.” She said.
Bunner said when schools closed in the spring of 2020, her senior year lost their chance to go to their final district competition, their last chance to advance to the state competition, and didn’t have a chance to perform their final spring concert.
“When we came back in the fall, the choir had to wear masks every day and keep a good distance from other singers; These protocols made it very difficult to sing well. However, they kept making music and we had a Christmas concert with a limited audience and finally a Spring concert where we allowed the audience to see the choir again.” She said. “This year we are returning to the contest world and the students are very happy to be closer to normality – sharing their music with audiences and judges, going on trips together and rehearsing like a choir should. I am beyond grateful to the students who persevered rather than thinking that the choir is too tough with masks on or not as much fun without the competitions. These students who have stayed in the program and continued to improve are the reason the choir had a successful year in competitions in 2022.”
Bunner said the choir had nothing to lose as they had already exceeded expectations for their first year in the competition.
“As long as they stay focused on their final preparations for State and sing their hearts out when we leave, I’ll be thrilled with this year’s results,” She said.
Bunner said the choir received an I rating at the district competition in March and qualified for the state competition. She said many choirs, bands and orchestras across the state of Ohio would compete in the state competition.
“The students are excited to get another chance to perform on the big stage during State,” She said. “The only members who have competed in district and state competitions are this year’s seniors as events have been disrupted by the pandemic.”
Bunner said the students would be singing in Newark, one of the venues for the OMEA state competition.
“The choir is hard at work preparing for their three selections, but they are also preparing for their spring concert, which will be held at Caldwell High School on May 19.” Bunner said.