Copperas Cove High choirs sing their way to victory
By WENDY SLEDD
Special to the Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove High School’s Voices of Cove choir program is hitting multiple high notes as it competes across the state singing in various competitions this summer.
CCHS choir teachers Rick Gates and Jim Barker instruct six different choirs.
The CCHS Junior Varsity Tenor/Bass Choir showcased its talents at the Pride of Texas Choral Festival held in Austin and received Superior ratings unanimously from all three judges with a rating of “1”—which is the highest rating possible.
The Bella Voce and Junior Varsity Treble Choirs competed at Music Across Texas in New Braunsfel, winning first place in their respective divisions, with Bella Voce winning Best Overall Choir.
At the Showcase of Music in San Antonio, the CCHS Mixed Chorale earned a Superior rating of “1 from all judges. The chorale went on to win Outstanding Best in Class Choir and Outstanding Best Overall Choir to sweep the entire event.
“The future looks bright for the Voices of Cove,” Gates said. “We graduated 19 seniors this year and have about 45 new freshmen coming into this dynamic program.”
Students also have the opportunity to compete individually in the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Competition. During the first round of auditions, students must choose a level one solo which is the most difficult and includes a foreign language and must perform the piece by themselves for a UIL State judge. If they are rated Superior and receive a rating of 1, they qualify for state competition.
Copperas Cove High School rising junior Emily Kimball was a first-time competitor at the state contest and found the competition “stressful and nerve-racking.”
“The competition requires hours of waiting. Everyone competes individually or with a small group, so as you wait for your competition time, your nerves worsen,” Kimball said. “For me, that time was full of non-stop practice from 12 PM to the time I competed at 5 PM. I was the last of the Cove group to perform. All of my friends had already competed and received their scores. So, I was extremely tense. As I walked into the room, I felt confident. I knew my piece well and had performed it many times. When I finished, I walked out of the room with a sense of accomplishment. I felt good about my performance and knew whatever rating, I received I was proud of myself. Ultimately, I received a superior rating which is the highest a performer can earn.”
Cove High had 20 students who qualified for the state solo and ensemble competition with 16 choosing to advance. Nine were awarded a Superior rating of “1” and six earned an Excellent rating of “2.”
“The most difficult thing about TSSEC is that the preliminaries are held in mid-February and that’s when you find which students qualified for State. The state level competition is not until summer, so there is a large span of time for students to forget music,” Gates said. “We addressed that challenge this year by having a recital the week before competition so that students brushed up on their pieces a little earlier than they might have otherwise. There is always tremendous value when a student can perform individually for a judge and receive feedback on the spot on what can be improved upon.”
The CCHS Varsity Treble Choir also competed at the UIL Region 8 Concert & Sight Reading Evaluation, receiving the Sweepstakes award which is given for Superior ratings from every judge in every category.