VHS chamber & tenor-bass choirs among best in the nation

By RYLIE LOCKERMAN, Vandegrift Voice

The Vandegrift chamber choir is one of the top two in the nation in 6A and the chorale tenor-bass choir is one of the top two in Texas in 6A. 

“These are the highest honors that a high school choir can achieve, and this year there were two different choirs from the same school awarded with this honor,” said Michael Zook, director of choirs at VHS.

The VHS tenor bass choir will attend the 2023 Texas Music Educators Association convention and the VHS chamber choir the American Choral Directors Association convention.  

“We have rehearsed over and over again to get to perfection so we can perform in February,” tenor bass member Armaan Azam said. “It just feels so surreal that we were selected out of everyone in Texas; out of every varsity bass [choir].”

Choir directors Michael Zook and Emily Chandler submitted various songs and performances over the past three years from both groups to meet eligibility requirements for convention participation.

“Every A-day we go to chamber choir and we learn our music,” member Casey Caldwell said. “We have a couple of after-school retreats; overall repping the music and really perfecting it, refining it and making sure that it’s the best it can be.”

This winter, tenor bass will be attending the TMEA convention on Feb. 10 in San Antonio while the chamber choir travels to their NACDA convention in Cincinnati, Ohio where they will perform their selected music.

“I’m looking forward to traveling just as a group with all my friends,” Caldwell said. “I think just being up on that stage, it’s going to be pretty surreal and just a magical feeling.”

Increased membership since August has ushered new talents in both groups, creating a dynamic of kinship during rehearsal that can only be encapsulated in members’ mutual respect for each other’s unique, strong performances.

“There’s a lot of people I’d say in tenor bass who are new to higher level music or new to choir,” Azam said. “There’s even someone who is new to choir and going to the convention with us.”

Members will continue to attend rehearsals and retreats leading up to February conventions. Their hours of commitment and effort keep group spirits high, but only practice makes success possible.

“I feel as a Vandegrift student, excellence is [the] standard,” Caldwell said. “I don’t know if it [NACDA] will be real until we’re up on that stage. I am very excited for that [feeling] to finally hit.”

Rylie Lockerman, a VHS junior, participates in theater and student council. She also enjoys writing scripts/books, practicing her animation skills, listening to music, and watching sitcoms.