On Saturday, October 26th, Aaron Shouse and Shelby Yates auditioned for All State Choir at Hampton Dumont High School. Just over 1,000 students get chosen to be a part of this elite choir out of over 10,000 auditions across the state of Iowa. We at Gladbrook Reinbeck High School are ecstatic to share with you that Aaron Shouse has been chosen to participate in this year's All State Festival! Aaron headed off to Ames on Friday, November 22, to begin his preparation for their Saturday concert on the Iowa State University campus. Before he heads off, I interviewed Aaron to learn some more about his All State experience thus far and what he's most excited about for this upcoming All State choir experience!
Q: What kind of preparation takes place before auditions? What is the experience like preparing for All State?
A: Preparing for All State wasn't easy. Taking hours out of your day just to learn collegiate level music is harder than it seems, but it helps with fundamentals of singing, like breath support and timing. It was hard, but it was never boring.
Q: What is the worst/hardest part about auditioning for All State? What is the best part about auditioning?
A: The worst part about the audition process is the wait. You literally work on this music for months in advance, and you don't know what selections the judges will choose for you to sing. The best part of auditioning was meeting other people just like you, who are shooting for the jackpot: To be one of 1,038 musicians in one of the best renowned state choirs in the nation.
Q: What are auditions like? How did you feel the day of auditions?
A: The auditions at first were very nerve wracking. You don't know what the judge or judges think of you until you see your name on the paper or not. You go in, sing selected verses from selected songs, and they just say "Thank you." No feedback, no other words. It was probably the most stressful day of my entire life.
Q: What is it like after the auditions over? How terrible is waiting for the results?
A: After auditions, it felt like a ton of bricks were just lifted off my shoulders. Everything just faded, and all I could really think to myself was, "This is it." The wait was extensive. We were there from 11:45 to about 6, and it was a long wait to see a name on a giant sheet of paper.
Q: What did it feel like when you were recalled? What is that process like?
A: Recalls are a pain. Instead of one judge, there are three. The cuts in the music are different, and vary for each voice part. This made me happy, but more stressed out to do a good job.
Q: How did it feel to make it into All State?
A: When I saw my name on the accepted list, I can't even explain the joy that I felt. It was like a train just hit me. There were tears, but I felt like I just won a Nobel Prize.
Q: What happens now? (explain what the All State process is like.)
A: Now that auditions are through, I now have to memorize my music front to back, and head to Ames on the 22nd of November, to join everyone else in working through the music for the concert on the 23rd at Hilton Coliseum.
Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about auditioning next year?
A: To those who would want to audition: It isn't easy, but it's worth it. That music becomes more than just notes and words on a page. Just ask Shelby or myself about some of the songs we had to sing, and we would both tell you it's amazing. If you put the time into doing this process, you will love every minute of it.
The next time you see Aaron, make sure you congratulate him on this very honorable accomplishment! For me, personally, it has been such a blessing to work next to Aaron these past three months leading up to auditions, and it was definitely one of the best moments in my life to experience someone's dreams come true! Not only does Aaron deserve a spot in the All State Choir, but he has earned it in every way! We are SO proud of you.