Choir students join national ensemble

Students from across the nation form new choir, three from LHS

On Nov. 10-13, three students from Lawrence High will perform in Grapevine, Texas, at the All-National Ensemble Concert.

Students from across the country will come together to form not only choir groups, but orchestra and band groups.

Seniors Cameron Stussie and Bryce Dunn and junior Gavin Jones are part of the 2016 All-National Honor Mixed Choir. They were part of the state choir last year and will make up a third of the representatives from Kansas.

In May, Stussie, Dunn and Jones submitted videos of themselves performing a piece. Responses to acceptance were all variations of shock, surprise and joy. For Stussie, it was disbelief.

“I didn’t believe it when I first got the email saying it, so I called my director and asked him if it was really true,” he said. “I had the audition on my birthday, so that was probably one of the best late birthday presents I’ve ever got.”

In Texas, the trio will be under the guidance of Anton Armstrong, a music professor from St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Choir teacher Dwayne Dunn will also be accompanying as the official chaperone.
Stussie, Dunn and Jones begin gearing up for the event this month, practicing the songs which they received the sheet music for earlier this year.

“We have nine songs we’re performing, ranging from the Romantic era up on the new common literature,” Stussie said.

Bryce Dunn sees it as a great opportunity to represent LHS in a 20-singer choir, with six others from Kansas.

The choir program isn’t unfamiliar with success. Last year, A Cappella Choir performed at the Kansas Music Educators Association convention in Wichita. Choir students are regularly accepted into the All-District and All-State choirs and have received top rankings in the Solo and Small Ensemble Festival, as well as State Large Ensemble Festival.

“I am so proud of the choral program at LHS, and this is just one more opportunity to showcase the high quality of our students to the nation,” Dwayne Dunn said. “This is yet another way our students have demonstrated their excellence.”