Smith Makes All-State Choir


Olive Ritchie, Co-Assistant Editor

This year marked a revival of an old Saida High School tradition: sending students to All State Choir. Junior Ben Smith attended All State Choir this February, the first SHS student to attend in 10 years. In the last few years, the Covid-19 pandemic has limited students’ ability to audition for and attend things, but Smith believes that there will be many more SHS choir students attending in the future.

“As we’re now kind of coming out of [the pandemic] and coming back into our regular rhythm of things, there are a lot of good singers emerging, and I think we’re going to have a lot more students go [to All State Choir] in the future,” Smith said.

The audition process consisted of a primary audition to determine admission, then a secondary audition the day before to ensure that the students knew the music. To prepare for the auditions, Smith practiced with vocal coach Cathryn Bishop-Campbell as well as practicing on his own time. Smith’s first audition was at Western State University in Gunnison, and it consisted of performing a solo song, scales, triads and sight singing for a panel of judges. 

“You’ll sing for them [the judges] your solo, then your triads and scales and then you sing your sight reading piece, so you read a piece of music on the spot. And then, they will give you a score based on how you’re judged and if your score is above a certain number you will be accepted,” Smith said. 

Smith was the only SHS student to be accepted, and he was overjoyed to see all his hard work paying off. Despite his joy at his acceptance, he was sad for his classmates who did not get accepted. 

“I was elated, but I was also a little disappointed because I was the only one from our school to get in. I was slightly pained to see none of my fellow auditionees got in,” Smith said.  

Smith participated in the all male Tenor-Bass choir, which consisted of voice parts tenor one, tenor two, bass one and bass two. Some of his favorite songs he sang were “How to Sing Like a Planet” and “Harriet Tubman.” 

As well as his talent for singing, Smith excels in a number of different performing arts. He is a part of both Jazz and Concert Band, Drama Club and a slew of other music classes. He drew on what he learned from all these activities to improve his singing. 

“I think playing instruments helped me with the more rhythmic aspect of reading music, but I think what really helped me was I had taken a music theory class that we offer here at the high school. I think that understanding music and how it actually works is a really helpful key for any musician as well as singers,” Smith said.