Four Miami High School students have been selected this year to perform in the All-State choirs.
“I've checked around and I think that's the most students Miami High School has ever had selected in one year,” said the school's vocal instructor Ron Stowell. “The were chosen from the 10 students who performed in the All-District Choir. I'm really proud of all of them.”
Two of those chosen, Derekka Dillon and Lori Graham, will perform in the All-State Women's Choir on Jan. 10 through Jan. 12 at Cox Center in Oklahoma City.
The other two, Rachel Steward and Rylie Kinsey, will perform with the All-State Mixed Choir on Jan. 17 through Jan. 19 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
The additional six Miami High School students who performed in the All-District Choir on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Tulsa were Kayla Barnes, Jordan Hessee, Hilary Shyers, James Redden, Tyler Lawson and Kaylee Douthit.
Practice on their materials began in August.
Many of the students developed their singing abilities in church.
Douthit, daughter of Angie and Brad Douthit, is attends Liberty Baptist Church in Miami.
She began singing at 2 and performing in church when she was 6.
“Singing is really fun,” she said. “I do it constantly so it made sense to take singing up as an extra curricular activity.”
Lawson, son of Susan Blalock and grandson of Nancy Loehr, began singing in school in the sixth grade, but got “hooked on it in church.”
“I like performing,” he said. “It's an adrenaline rush. I hope to continue performing as an adult and to develop my abilities as an actor.”
Sophomore Redden is the son of Aletha and Ernie Redden.
He plans to major in music in college.
In addition to singing, he plays the sax and the oboe.
Hessee, daughter of Todd and Jennifer Hessee, is in the ninth grade.
“I began to realize I could sing a little in the sixth grade,” she said. “My mom sings a lot.”
Jordan Hessee participated in the summer's production of “Grease” by Youth on Stage.
“It was a new experience for me,” she said.
This was freshman Shyers first time to be selected to district choir.
The daughter of David and Kathryn Shyers, she comes from a family of singers and has sung in church since she was little.
She described her experience with the district choir as “fun.”
Barnes, daughter of Cheryl and David Barnes, is a member of the First Assembly of God Church in Miami.
This is her third time at all-district.
“I've sung since I was tiny,” she said. “I have movies taped of me singing with my parents.
“For me, singing is a way of relieving stress.”
Kinsey, son of Steve and Cindy Kinsey, has sung all his life.
The 11th grader, also a member of First Assembly of God, sings at church.
“I sing because I like to,” he said.
Dillon, daughter of Danny and Vonda Dillon, also attends First Assembly of God.
She comes of a family of noted performers.
“I do like singing,” she said with a smile. “Especially when it's good.”
Graham, daughter of Barbara and Jaydee Whitlock, began singing before kindergarten while at church.
“It's a way to connect with people,” she said. “You have to practice a lot and work hard.”
She intends to take her abilities and use them as a music teacher.
Stowell made special note of the competition that his students faced.
“There were 35 schools involved in the music festival from Northeast Oklahoma,” he said. “Miami High School students were competing against students from 5A and 6A schools.”