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Panther Prints

Choir students advance to All-State

Choir students advance to All-State
Seniors Christion Draper and Colin Crawford along with Garrett Kheshtinejad will represent the DHS Choral department in the All-State Choir this year. (Allie Peregory photo)

Walking down the hall,  junior Garrett Kheshtinejad and senior Christion Draper are bright eyed and talking anxiously about the fun they will soon have in San Antonio at the TMEA convention they will return to this year. Senior Collin Crawford walks along smiling with his peers and singing along with them to a new piece of music they just received. All three of the students competed at Midway High School in Waco to earn a chair in the All-State Choir Jan. 8.

” The difference between this year’s audition and last year’s was that this year I had already done it so I wanted that experience again. Really bad,” Draper said. “The competition this year was harder because everyone who I was competing with had already made All-State too.”

Draper sings bass two, Crawford sings tenor one and Garrett sings tenor two. The students all prepared music for their parts in the audition months in advance and say they dedicated hours of practice in hopes of becoming a member of the All-State choir.

“I felt prepared because I had been practicing the music for two months. The songs we did this round were the same ones that we did at previous auditions just different parts of the songs, so I was already ready. I just had to refine some things,” Crawford said. “I was really nervous because it was my last year to make it into All- State, so everything was riding on me making it. ”

Choir Director Susan Kheshtinejad says it was her dream for all three of these boys to make it to the All-State choir.

“All of these boys have workde hard and are extremely talented,” Mrs. Kheshtinejad said. “They are great friends and connect so well musically and they are very deserving of this honor.”

After the work the students put in, the results for the audition was all up to the judges. The students received their one chance in the room to impress them, and after that there’s nothing left for them to do.

“I was terrified during my audition,” Draper said. “But when I got to singing I got comfortable.”

Although the students admit the audition process is stressful for them because of the possibility of gaining scholarships and other recognitions Draper admits that waiting for the results is the most stressful part of the audition.

“I was absolutely terrified waiting for the results. I was jittery, tapping my fingers on the table and breathing heavy,” Draper said. “I was praying a lot. When they called my name it took a while for me to realize that they had actually called my name.”

The results are announced out loud and students were on the edge of their seat waiting to hear if all of their work and dedication paid off making them an All-State choir member.

“They announce the results and we’re not allowed to cheer or anything. I heard Collin and Chris made it and I was really happy for them,” Garrett said. “Then I heard my name and was really happy that all three of us are going.”

The TMEA convention is not only a chance for recognition for the students, but also a chance for learning and an opportunity to increase their talent.

“Hopefully I’ll learn a lot at the state convention and have a greater input musically in the Duncanville choir department,” Garrett said.

Head Choral Director Ty Shaw says that not only does these three boys selection to the All-State Choir recognize them for their hard work but it also brings recognition to the overall program at the high school.

“The pride I feel for the accomplishments of Christion, Collin and Garrett demonstrates the determination, commitment and focus that we hope to convey to all or our choral students here, ” Shaw said. “We hope to continue this tradition of Panther Pride every year in the future, with more students participating.”

Recognition and honors are all a part of making All-State, but students like Crawford are humbled to be able to participate in the choir and to preform for hundreds of other musicians and educators.

“Just being able to say that I made it and that I can say that I’m one of the best singers in Texas is really cool,” Crawford said. “I don’t think it’s going to kick in until the day of the All-State concert being part of an outstanding choir that will sound amazing.”

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