GCAA choirs take home gold in Colorado Springs competition


Wes Smith

GCAA festival choir posing in the lobby before learning their scores.

Kumari Pacheco, Staff Writer

On Thursday, April 5th, over thirty high school vocal pathway students piled into a charter bus and took a 15 hour drive to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The group contained Camarada, Band’s Treble choir, and students who are part of other choirs such as Concert Treble and After-School choir (jazz-a-pella) – making up a single unit entitled “festival choir.”

The main purpose of the trip was participation in a national choir competition, containing six other high schools from various parts of the midwest and taking place on Friday the sixth. However, with all of Friday morning completely free before the competition, the trip’s schedule also had room to accommodate different things.

“There were some parts of the trip that were very music focused,” Wes Smith, Upper Academy Choral Director, and chaperone to the students on the trip, said. “The overall goal of Colorado Springs was the competition, but while we were there we incorporated some music related activities and some educational things, as well as exploring some things in nature.”

These landmarks included a public park known for its dramatic rock formations, historic Native American cliff dwellings, a massive steel suspension bridge, a large network of caves, and a chapel owned by the U.S. Air Force Academy in which the students sang – all taking place over the course of Friday and Saturday.

Then, on Saturday night, the competition results were announced; expressed in “ratings” and “rankings.” A rating is a choir’s overall score out of 100, ranging from gold (90-100 points) to honorable mention (70 points and below). A ranking is a choir’s position when compared to the other choirs that are competing. These scores are numerical (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

GCAA’s choirs were awarded a “clean sweep” of gold ratings and first rankings, meaning that they were the highest in score and performance. Specifically, the followings awards were received:

Adjudicator Award to two of three choirs for scores of 95+/100
Outstanding Choral Group Award to Adv. Treble Choir for highest overall score
Sweepstakes Choral Program Award to Best overall program

In addition, an Ovation Award was given to senior Kyree Hamilton.

“I started bawling my eyes out,” Hamilton said, describing his reaction to the award. “I was crying, my face was in the towel, and everybody else is crying – Mr. Smith was crying – and it was just bonding throughout the entire choir. Just knowing your family is there for you.”