SPF students perform in the New Jersey All-State Chorus

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Vanessa Handy

Chosen via audition from a large pool of talented high school vocalists, 18 Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School students participate in this years various New Jersey All-State choir ensembles. There are two vocal ensembles the Mixed Chorus for men and women and the all women’s Treble Chorus. This month, members of the Mixed Chorus performed in Atlantic City over the teachers convention weekend as well as at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
 
Auditions took place in April where in addition to a tonal memory component, students prepared scales, a solo piece, and a quintet (all memorized) to perform in front of various judges. Auditionees were then rated on a scale of 1-9, one being the superior rating and 9 being the opposite. SPF senior Rachella Carlino is in her third year of participating in the ensemble. Despite her prior experience, Carlino recognizes the stress that accompanies the auditions.
 
“The audition process is very nerve-wracking even when you’ve gone through it before,” Carlino said. “It usually takes hours to even audition because there are so many people.”
 
However, getting past the audition and being accepted into the chorus for the past three years has been gratifying for Carlino.
 
“It is such a scary audition process and there are so many people auditioning,” Carlino began.  “So it’s exciting to know that you were selected out of the thousands who try out.”
 
The near 500 students who comprise the Mixed and Treble Chorus’ come from high schools throughout the entire state of New Jersey. In these ensembles, students are directed by highly esteemed conductors and work with them over the span of many months. Though the activity is run on a professional level, Carlino acknowledged the fun that comes with the hard work.  
 
“The students are definitely held to a high standard in All-State,” Carlino began. “Which fosters a very focused environment during rehearsals. This year our director, Dr. Christopher Thomas, was so kind and funny. I had a great time getting to know him as a conductor as well as a person throughout our rehearsals.”
 
An exciting change for Carlino this year, was the number of classmates that participated in the chorus with her. With 13 other SPF students in the Mixed Chorus with Carlino and four other students in the Treble Chorus, she was surrounded by her peers for performances and practices.
 
“At All-State, you meet so many new people and make amazing new friends,” Carlino said. “But it’s definitely nice to have familiar faces with you during the long rehearsals and performances.”
 
In her All-State experience this month, Carlino performed at the Ocean Resort in Atlantic CIty during the teacher’s convention and at NJPAC for the public alongside the NJ All-State High School Orchestra. The performance at NJPAC really stood out for Carlino–-she loves the space and the feeling of accomplishment she gets when performing. Those performances speak volumes to Carlino’s overall All-State Choir experience, one that she would say, has changed her for the better.
 
“My experience in Allstate has been nothing short of transforming,” Carlino said. “Through this organization I was exposed to so many different choral pieces and composers, as well as different people throughout New Jersey.”
 
Carlino encourages all students to audition for the New Jersey All-State ensembles regardless of experience level.
 
“Even if you aren’t super into choral singing auditioning is still a great idea,” Carlino said. “If you do decide to audition, just remember to practice the audition material a lot and to relax. Be confident and don’t be afraid to try new things.”
 
Though the performance season for the Mixed Chorus is over, the Treble Chorus has a performance at NJPAC on February 23, 2019 at 3:00 PM.
 
Below is a list of all SPF student participants in their respective ensembles.
 
In the Mixed Chorus: Peter Canevari, Rachella Carlino, John Demarco, Vanessa Handy, Billy Kasper, Matt Mahmet, Brent Mankin, Shannon McCreesh, Roy McGowan, Tori O’Connor, Allan Romero, Audrey Smith, Josh Venick, Alexa Vierschilling
 
In the Treble Chorus: Saniya Dalvi, Justyanna Fortna, Sophie Pritchett, Kyani Womack