Eastern Kentucky University welcomed high schoolers from across the state for EKU’s annual Choral Day on Thursday, Sept. 16. The program, designed to help prepare students for the annual Kentucky All-State Choir auditions, was hosted at EKU’s Center for the Arts.
The event featured performances from EnChor, Koros, University Singers and high school students. Two hundred fifty students from 11 of the state’s 583 high schools participated in the event, which consisted of sight reading practice, choral training, tours of the Center for the Arts and visits to Lower Powell. At the end of the day, students went on to perform their own pieces for visitors and families.
Crysta Muir and James Williamson, both junior broadcasting majors from Lexington and Mt. Sterling, were excited to see how the evening would play out.
Williamson said, “We haven’t been able to do this since my freshman year. I’m very excited to see the high schoolers be able to—they learned this song in a day, and I think that’s something really cool.”
High schools in attendance included Campbell County, East Jessamine, George Rogers Clark, Great Crossing, Henry Clay, Hopkins County Central, Lincoln County, Mercer County, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Scott County and Somerset.
Taryn Spicer, a sophomore at Campbell County High School was also in attendance. She said, “Music in general is what I want to do with my life. Anything with music, I don’t mind what it is—as long as I get to use my voice.”
Spicer, along with other members of Campbell County’s choir group, agreed that the event was a great opportunity for them to experience choir on a large scale and visit the university. Many of them also agreed that EKU was a consideration in their future college prospects.
The concert also welcomed numerous guest speakers, including Interim Dean John Bowes, assistant professor of voice Curtis Streetman, and EKU’s director of musical theatre, Matthew Johnson. Richard Waters, director of choral activities and Jill Campbell served as clinicians for the event.
The main purpose of the event, Waters said, was to prepare students for their future choral endeavors and showcase the university’s choral department.
“This is our biggest outreach for the year for the choral program and so we hope that enough of the students that come have a good time, a good experience and might consider EKU their college choice,” said Waters.
Concerning the program for next year, Waters said, “We just want to keep growing it (the program) or regrowing it. In years past we’ve had upwards of 300-400 students attend this event. Honestly, after not having been able to have it all last year, the fact that we had 250 students that could come this year was amazing.”