Baldwin High School seniors Thomas Stewart IV and Tevauri Mar’Shall are in the midst of dedicating every minute of their spare time to learn and rehearse several high-standard, varied repertoire of music before showcasing their talents at All State Chorus next year.
“For both of them to make All State Chorus is really special, but also to show what great musicians they are,” said Kathy Carroll, choir director at Baldwin High. “It’s nice to have All State Chorus because it’s a way that your very finest students can be rewarded for their hard work.”
All State Chorus is the most prestigious honor a chorus student can achieve at the high school level. As part of the audition process held in October, students learned vocabulary and site reading examples, sang an Italian aria, passed a written music theory test and passed an oral exam. Students were then given six to eight songs to learn by late January for the second audition.
The two young musicians will perform at the Classic Center in Athens in late February along with the best high school students across Georgia under the direction of a few of the country’s greatest conductors.
“All State Chorus is everybody’s best kid who stand out as superior. Approximately 10,000 students audition and approximately 1,000 make it,” Carroll said. “It’s just amazing for these conductors because they work with the finest musicians. A lot of the time it makes students want to major in music because they see how wonderful a final product can be. We’ve had students from Baldwin High School make All State Chorus for the last five years.”
Mar’Shall said it’s rewarding to achieve All State Chorus for the second year in a row.
“My favorite part about All State Chorus is that everybody who makes it are passionate about singing high level of music,” he said. “Last year I made it and I did a lot better this year, so I’m confident about the second audition. This let’s you know that all your hard work isn’t for nothing.”
Stewart said he is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in All State Chorus for the third consecutive year.
“My first time going was in the 10th grade. I love going and being around the energy of young musicians like myself. I feel I got lucky this year because I didn’t expect it,” he said. “Going to All State Chorus means that I can basically do just about anything. I plan to go to Berklee College of Music and major in music theory. My long-term goal is to be a R&B vocalist performer.”
Throughout the school year, Carroll focuses her curriculum and instruction around the annual event to ensure students have the best possibility of going to All State Chorus.
“I start every semester teaching students music theory and how to site read at an advanced level. I also teach Italian aria in all of my classes and listening skills so they can pass the oral exam.”
Mar’Shall has his fingers crossed for his acceptance of the presidential scholarship at Georgia College as he plans to pursue music education after graduation.
“I’ve been formally singing since the 10th grade when I started chorus. My favorite part of music is music theory; you can change a tiny part of a note and it can change the music entirely. I want to thank [Carroll] for preparing me for All State Chorus; it’s one of my favorite parts of my high school career.”
Stewart said his passion for singing evolved during his toddler years, but never received formal education about his hobby until entering into Carroll’s class.
“Growing up I wasn’t around classical music. I’ve always had music in my life and I always sang, but I never knew about music theory or had a proper vocal teacher. I found my love of music through chorus and All State where I’ve learned to do music like I really wanted to do,” the 17-year-old said. “[Carroll] had done a wonderful job helping us prepare for All State; she has taken me to the next level. I thank her for the opportunities she has given us because without her I wouldn’t be what I am today.”