The FHS Choir Department Presents the Annual Pre U.I.L Concert

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The FHS Choir Department Presents the Annual Pre U.I.L Concert

Ashlyn Killian, Writer

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On Tuesday, March 26th, the Choir hosted the annual Pre-U.I.L Concert to present their work and prepare for the U.I.L competition next week. All choirs have prepared a variety of songs since early January that must follow a set of specific guidelines and rules, regarding what kind of song and class a choir can sing, for the contest. All five choirs will be directed by Michael Tyer and Melissa Smith.

“Two pieces must be chosen from the UIL Prescribed Music List (our own Mrs. Smith is in her final year as the head of that committee that chooses the music that the entire state will perform),” Tyer said. “Our varsity mixed choirs, for example, must perform a piece [from two different lists]. There is a list that is comprised of masterworks — no one is required to perform these as they are extremely difficult pieces.”

Cantabile, Bel Canto, and Concert Men are under the direction of Melissa Smith while Campus Singers and Vocal Ensemble are under Michael Tyer. 175 students performed at the Pre U.I.L Concert.

 “The process can be tiring at times, but knowing that all the work that I and the rest of my choir has put in to our songs will pay off at the competition is a great feeling to have,” sophomore Madison Reyes said. “Also, with Mrs. Smith as my director, learning the songs is just so much more fun!”

The process of learning and performing the music is then rated based of off sight-reading and performance for each choir.

“Ratings given range from I (best rating) to a V,” Tyer said. “Choirs very rarely receive ratings lower than a III — IV’s and V’s would probably result from a choir having to stop completely in the middle of a song or drastically incorrect pitches.”

Both directors take the decisions regarding music choice seriously. After all, these songs will be the focal point of their classes for much of the spring semester.

Choosing music… is one of my favorite parts of my job. The UIL music, in particular, is typically very challenging and we spend quite a bit of time on refining it,” Tyer said. “I am very passionate about choosing music that ‘speaks’ to me both emotionally and intellectually, and I get excited about trying to instill that love for the music into my students.”

Every year, the UIL process offers a chance for memories to be made. Students and directors alike share in both the struggle and the joy of putting this music together and presenting it to an audience.

The guys were performing with such passion and heart on a really gorgeous piece of music that was clicking together so beautifully – there was an inexplicable tangible feeling in the room of WOW, WE DID IT,” Smith said. “Several of the guys and I started to tear up with pride, accomplishment, and love for the team.  

According to Smith, even their accompanist, Mrs. Keyes, responded emotionally, saying, “Well, we don’t even need the trophy now – that was the grand prize right there.”

All choirs will compete April 3 in the UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest.