All 20 Merrillville High School choir students who recently competed in ISSMA state events received gold medal ratings.
Students competed in 13 vocal solos, one piano solo and six ensembles, earning a total of 88 gold medals in all. In addition, eight of the 20 earned their golds with distinction!
“I am very proud that our students performed well despite limited in-person rehearsal time and masked socially distanced singing,” said Melinda Reinhart, MHS choral director/performing arts department chairperson.
"These handicaps made it much more difficult to hear each other and execute dynamic changes and other musical nuances that judges can hear in our recordings,” she added.
The following vocalists won accolades: Andre Burns (9.5 with distinction), Miracle Davenport, Erin Escobar (10 with distinction), Kennedy Halliburton (10.5 with distinction), Kamryn Johnson, Alexus McGriggs, Tessa Mroz (10.5 with distinction), Joshua Roberts, Damiah Shaw, Jarius Taylor-Newman (9.5 with distinction), Terry Thomas, Aaliyah Williams, and Genesis Williams.
Burns was also awarded a 7.5 gold with distinction on his piano solo.
The Escobar Ensemble and the Vocalteen Men scored gold with distinction with “Lullaby” and “DrunkenSailor,” respectively.
Large ensembles Choralteens, Kirklen, Molenda, and Roberts all earned gold medals with their division one state ensembles.
Under normal circumstances, students compete at the ISSMA Solo and Ensemble District level in early February and get feedback from their judges.
If they perform division one pieces and earn gold ratings, they can compete again at the state level two weeks later, where they sing for judges who are college music professors. Adjudication at the state level is with a much higher degree of expectation.
This year, MHS students, all of whom sang division one repertoire, competed at the state level in the one and only ISSMA Solo and Ensemble Competition this year, which means they were judged solely at the state level.