SMITHVILLE — Having placed in the All-District Choir every year of her high school career, senior alto Katie Kaminski said she was surprised to be invited to perform with the All-State Choir, Wednesday to Saturday, Jan. 22 to 25, in Osage Beach.

“I was absolutely shocked,” Kaminski said. “My teacher kind of nonchalantly handed me the paper with all the names. I thought he just wanted me to read it to understand I didn’t made it. Then I saw my name and I put my hand over my mouth, I was excited and shocked.”

To qualify for All-State Choir, students must be upperclassmen and All-District choir members who audition with music provided by the district choir.

“They grade us on accuracy in terms of volume, dynamics, tempo and note,” Kaminski said. “Then, what feeds into it from our All-District auditions are our sight-reading score ... and our 90-second solo.” Her solo piece was Bach’s “Ave Maria.”

Final scores are a combination of the district section audition, sight-reading and the 90-second solo.

Of more than 3,000 students competing in the state, Kaminski said four are taken from her district, with a total of 192 seats available.

“The most difficult part of getting this far is making sure you stand out when you audition,” Kaminski said. “You want to stand out in a positive way by paying attention to the music and focusing on the little details. They hear so many people sing. ... As far as being accurate, a lot of people ignore the small things.”

For advice to others hoping to make it, Kaminski recommends practicing the correct format.

“So often on the radio we hear varying indie and pop styles, it is just not a formal trained singing,” Kaminski explained. “You want to practice technique that is relevant to choral-style singing. ... Always be practicing what it is to sing in the classical format.”

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at or 389-6606.

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