By Annie Goodykoontz
Covid-19 didn’t prevent the All-Regional Choir Festival from happening this year, but it certainly made it different.
It was held completely online. It was challenging, but three Tempe Prep students, under the direction of Chamber Choir director, Mrs. Aimee Stewart, qualified for the All Region Choir: Seniors Clara Moffitt, Lizzie Turley, and Kylie Klassen.
Clara performed the Soprano II Version of “Vergebliches Ständchen.” Were there any advantages to Regionals being held online? “No.” Clara said. “It really sucks.” She was joking, mostly. “Some advantages are you can record any day of the week and you have plenty of time to prepare for your audition,” she said. “Usually my auditions are on a Saturday morning and I am chugging herbal tea and doing my magic gargle and warm-ups to make my voice ready to perform so early in the morning. This time I was able to do my audition from the comfort of my own home at any time, and after I did my sight-reading I was able to take a break after each exercise.”
However, Clara said it really was different: “The auditions took place virtually over one week in February, instead of just one weekend of in-person auditions. It was done through OpusEvent, which was difficult and new to navigate. The sight-reading portion of the audition looked different in that it only involved three single-line exercises and no block and contrapuntal exercise.”
The auditions were not the only thing that was different. “The judges took longer to score the auditions, and something new this year was that they didn’t rank the students,” Clara said. “Usually each person is ranked in what are called ‘chairs’ in each section, the first chair having the highest chair.”
Clara said the most difficult part of this experience was sight reading, which was “more difficult than usual in my opinion because they have a rolling camera recording of your face in the bottom of the screen while you do the exercise. I think that this really tripped me up and kept me from getting a perfect score on the sight reading. However, I did better on the single line than I have in the past so that is great!
“Again, I am really bummed that the auditions and festival are not in person, so that is a challenge, but I am grateful to be making music in any capacity.”
So what happens from here? “Now we are learning just one piece under the direction of J. Edmund Hughes,” Clara said. “I am still learning how to use the portal but they have all the resources for us to learn the piece on our own and record it to be put into the world.”
In the end, despite all of the differences, all of the hard work paid off: “I felt pretty great about my performance! I got a good score and practiced hard!”
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.