Four WSHS students selected for All-State Chorus
Four Wessington Springs students joined 1000 music-minded kids from across the state earlier this month at the South Dakota All-State Chorus and Orchestra Concert held in Sioux Falls.
Representing Wessington Springs was the quartet made up of WSHS seniors Brendin LaBore, Piper Jones and Chloe Munsen, along with sophomore Porter Walz.
WSHS Music Director Julie Fastnacht said that the rigor involved in being selected for All-State Chorus is a requirement that requires dedication.
“You have to go with the music already learned. That’s the tough part and the dedication of being a part of this,” Fastnacht said. “They rehearse Monday through Thursday at 7:30 a.m. from the beginning of the school year and they have to do work on their own time.”
Fastnacht said that students are held accountable from the time they arrive in Sioux Falls to practice together for two days with the guest conductor.
“Once you get there, you can be drawn for a spot check — that’s how they hold students accountable and make sure they have studied the music,” she said.
Dr. Andrew Last was the guest conductor this year and Fastnacht said that his “professionalism and personal touch” helped students discover the true meaning of the music they were performing. Fastnacht continually conveys to her students that if they are not giving the message in their voice and body, the audience won’t connect.
“He was spot on with his technique and using personal stories to connect with the students. With the piece Great God Almighty, he explained that this wasn’t just a gospel song. It is a song about slaves reaching out to God in times of struggle,” she explained. “When the kids first approached it, they thought it was a happy gospel piece. Only when the conductor asked them to please understand that the song is about slaves in the field yelling out to God to help them as their people were dying, did they understand the true meaning.”
“These students are exceptional kids,” Fastnacht said. This is the strongest year we have had at All-State.”