Marble Falls High School senior Sean Durham has advanced to the Texas All-State Men’s Choir in the tenor-bass choir category.
The choir is an extension of the Texas Music Educators Association and is one of the most prestigious there is, according to Marble Falls High School choir director Bryce Gage.
“It is super competitive,” Gage said. “It’s easy to say that it’s probably the number one all-state choir in the country. It is so competitive.”
About 70,000 Texas high school students start the all-state choir selection process but only about 2.5 percent of those are picked for one of 18 ensembles.
In a normal, non-pandemic year, Durham would attend the TMEA convention in February and rehearsals before performing in a concert attended by as many as 5,000 people.
“In this year of COVID, there is no concert or anything like that,” Gage said. “They have won the prestige of making the Texas All-State Choir, and, at this point, it pretty much stops. This year, it’s a bragging rights situation.”
The road to the all-state choir is a long one, usually beginning in June or July with all-state camps. This year, participants took part in virtual camps, learning 10 pieces of music, usually in multiple languages, which they use to compete in round after round of auditions.
“In most years, there are four rounds. This year, there were three rounds, but they made each round bigger,” Gage said. “This made it effectively more competitive in each round.”
Durham plans to sing in the choral program at Texas Tech University, where he intends to pursue a degree in engineering.
The Marble Falls High School choir’s next event is a March 4 concert with a spring concert later this year, date to be determined.