22 THS students sing, play their way to state music fest
Twenty-two Tonganoxie High School music students are gearing up for the Class 4A State Music Festival this weekend in Andover.
The students earned their way to the state competition by achieving "1" ratings at the Regional Music Festival earlier this month at Baker University.
The Chieftain Singers, the saxophone quartet of Ryan Brammer, Noah Fugate, Henry Johnson and Cody Somers, clarinet soloist Ryan Wolf and vocalists Kirsten Baggett, Jon Ferris, Victoria Fort, Lydia Thao and Bailey Wetta will represent THS at the annual festival.
Tom Gifford, who is in his first year as the vocal music teacher at THS, said he was proud of the students.
"They've been working real hard, both after school and in early-morning coaching sessions," he said.
The Chieftain Singers, who have made trips to past State Music Festivals, will return again this year and perform "Ave Maria."
"It's a challenging piece, but it really accentuates that they have some beautiful tones," Gifford said.
About 600 students from across Kansas will compete at the State Music Festival, Gifford said. Judges rank students' performances on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being superior.
"Because it's state, the expectation level will be a little higher than regionals," Gifford said.
As for his expectations, Gifford said his students have worked hard and should do well.
"All I hope is the kids give their best performances," he said.
At the Regional Music Festival, several Tonganoxie students were near-misses as qualifiers for the state competition. Earning a "2" rating were Ryan Brammer, saxophone solo; Missy Hamby, vocal solo; Cody Somers, saxophone solo; Caleb Wager, trumpet solo; Rebekah Smith, vocal solo; Kayla Oelschlaeger, vocal solo; Stephen Crook, trumpet solo; Seth Bohanon, vocal solo; Maggie Derzinski, vocal solo; and Dalton Torneden, vocal solo.
Also competing at the regional festival and earning a rating of "3" were Patrick Monahan, clarinet solo; the trumpet trio of Geoffrey Towns, Steven Smith and Doug Emerson; Amber Hornbeck, vocal solo; and Danielle Hopkins, vocal solo.