WHS students sing in All District Choir


Photo by Jessie Patterson

WHS choir students Kayla Childs, Levi Weber, Morgan Sprehe, Evan Courtaway and Elizabeth Brennecke pose for a group photo at All District Choir. “You make connections with people from around the area and it’s really nice,” Sprehe said. “You get to be a part of something that you love doing, but on a bigger scale than just at school.” Last year, four students from WHS participated in All District Choir.

Nov. 16 in Farmington, Missouri, five WHS students performed in All District Choir, a group of about 200 students in the East Central district selected after auditions in September. Senior Levi Weber and junior Elizabeth Brennecke returned for their second year in the choir, and senior Morgan Sprehe and juniors Evan Courtaway and Kayla Childs attended for the first time.

“I was ecstatic [when I made it into All District Choir],” Courtaway said. “Music is what I want to do with my life, so getting that was huge.”

The audition process involved singing scales, sight reading new music and singing a prepared piece in front of judges, who scored the performances on criteria including dynamics, technique, rhythm, pitch and breathing. After successful auditions, the students began practicing new pieces for All District Choir. A planned rehearsal day for the whole choir was cancelled due to snow, which left only one rehearsal on the same day as the concert.

“We had to go over everything in one day in five hours, so that was stressful,” Sprehe said. 

They practiced singing “Beati Quorum Via,” “To Thee, Cherubim and Seraphim,” “An Irish Blessing” and “Walking on the Green Grass” during rehearsal.

“The words were really difficult for some of the songs, and so was the tempo,” Courtaway said. “[At rehearsal] I learned different ways of warming up and different ways to sing. The director was super fun. He was really involved with everyone, so that was a really good time.”

Rehearsal allowed them to meet choir students from all over the district, especially within their sections.

“My favorite part was probably getting to meet new people and work with them to try to figure out things you’re all struggling with and being able to accomplish that,” Childs said.

After working through the pieces in rehearsal, the students performed them together for parents at the concert. 

“At the end of the day when you perform, it all comes together and concert magic happens,” Weber said. 

With 30-40 members per section, the size of the entire choir enabled more blending than a smaller choir. 

“It’s kind of a rule of thumb that the bigger that something is, the better it’s going to sound. If you breathe in a small choir and you only have three people singing the same part as you, you can tell if they breathe at the same time too or if they falter, but with all those people, we all pick each other up and make sure we have each other whenever the other one has to breathe or messes up,” Sprehe said.

The quality of sound from this blending resulted in a memorable concert for the students.

“Your work pays off so well. You’re in this group, and you’re in your section, and everything blends so well. We’re all on the same level when we’re in that choir. It just sounds so good,” Brennecke said.

Although the hours of singing strained their voices, spending so much time rehearsing, eating lunch and riding the bus together allowed them to form stronger bonds as a group in addition to with students across the district.

“We got to know each other more even from this school,” Brennecke said. “The five of us got a lot closer, especially from talking on the bus rides. It was fun.”

They encourage other choir students to audition next year in order to have a chance of experiencing All District Choir.

“Be confident,” Childs said. “As long as you’re confident in yourself, you have a pretty high chance of making it.”

Photo by Jessie Patterson
All District Choir members in the East Central district rehearse on Nov. 16. “We’re the best district,” senior Levi Weber said. “There’s no better district.” Weber and junior Evan Courtaway are bass singers, while junior Elizabeth Brenneke sings alto and senior Morgan Sprehe and junior Kayla Childs sing soprano.