Every spring, the New Hampshire All-State Music Festival brings together some of the best high school choral singers in the state for a weekend in Concord, NH. After several days of rehearsal of repertory that the students prepare for on their own, the Festival culminates with a concert, led by a guest conductor. This year, five students worked with Mr. Marr to prepare for the highly competitive audition process, which included singing a prepared choral work and sight singing in front of judges who gave feedback on a number of categories from pitch to rhythm to performance quality, to name a few.
The audition takes place in two rooms, each containing a different judge. In the first room, the judge tests the auditioner’s vocal range. She or he sings a prepared art song in Italian to demonstrate vocal technique, ornamentation, and expression; this year’s aria was Antonio Caldara’s Sebben Crudele (“Although, Cruel On”). Following the art song, the auditioner moves to the second room where she or he sings a section of a J.S. Bach chorale and demonstrates melodic and rhythmic sight reading.
As Ava Mackay-Smith describes, “All-State auditions are really stressful, especially on the day of the audition when you’re in a room with one hundred-odd people all waiting to compete against everyone else’s voice.”
After the challenging process and against the talented pool or auditioners, two Dublin students have been selected to take place in this year’s Festival: freshman Deven Hardikar will sing in the mixed chorus, and senior Ava Mackay-Smith will return to the festival for her second year, this year as part of the women’s chorus.
“Last year we had an incredible conductor from Boston and the spring concert was amazing to be a part of,” says Ava. “It’s really intense but also a great learning experience! You end up learning so much about your limits and potential as a vocalist.”
Congratulations to all who auditioned! We look forward to bringing a group to Concord in the spring to cheer on Deven and Ava and to enjoy the exciting, high-quality choral performance.