Tonganoxie High School vocalists earn top ratings at state festival
The Tonganoxie High School vocal music department received top marks at the Kansas State High School Activities Association Solo and Small Ensemble Festival earlier this spring at Andover High School.
Earning the top score of a Division One rating were:
• Madison Derry, vocal solo
• Rachel Sparks, vocal solo
• Christopher Tiner, vocal solo
Earning Division Two ratings were:
• Men's quartet (Elliott Brest, Bryson Hewins, Aaron McIntyre and Marcus Titterington)
• Bobbi Lindsay, vocal solo
• Allie Packard, vocal solo
Earning a Division Three rating was:
• Taylor Clark, vocal solo
The students were accompanied by pianist Carolyn Day.
Director Tom Gifford said he was proud of the students for making it to the state festival and noted all soloists were underclassmen, so they’ll be returning to the program next year.
Gifford also discussed each of the performers.
About Rachel Sparks:
“Rachel Sparks has an amazing work ethic and is really coachable. She was so successful this year because she learned from past auditions and festivals and applied that knowledge to her preparation and performances this year. She performs intelligently and with much poise.”
About Madison Derry:
“Madison Derry received a one rating at state, and she's only a freshman. It's pretty rare for a ninth-grader to compete so well against older singers.”
About Christopher Tiner:
“Christopher Tiner is a very active student, so most of her practices were before school on Wednesday mornings. She was very dedicated, never once missing a rehearsal or even coming late.”
About Bobbi Lindsay:
“Bobbi is really coming into her own as a soloist this year. She approached the year with a lot of determination and with a renewed confidence. We discovered she really excels in Celtic music.”
About Allie Packard:
“Allie is new to our school this year, so this is the first chance I've had to coach her. She worked hard and really sang well. To go to state on your first attempt is pretty amazing.”
About Taylor Clark:
“Taylor Clark is a fantastic singer. Her score wasn't what she's capable of singing because she was trying to overcome severe vocal fatigue. Given the poor physical condition of her voice during regionals, for her to even qualify for state was miraculous and speaks volumes about her abilities. She had a gutsy performance at state, but was really hampered by a voice that just couldn't respond to the demands she was trying to put on it.”
About the men’s quartet:
“The men's quartet really did a wonderful job artistically putting their song together. I like that they grew a lot on their song from regionals to state. We lose half that group to graduation, so it will be interesting to see if another couple of guys step in to compete next year.”
Gifford also gave high praise to accompanist Carolyn Day, saying the group was “blessed” to have her with the group.
“She cares very deeply for our students and works tirelessly to rehearse with them when their busy schedules allow,” Gifford said.