All four choirs earned sweepstakes at their recent UIL competition.

Hitting the right notes

Choir, band earn sweepstakes during UIL Competitions

April 14, 2023

As UIL competitions wrap up for the year, the Rider choir and band has achieved something that directors Melanie Coons and Loy Studer were not expecting. All four choirs and the bands made sweepstakes, ending on a high note. 

“Normally we always have a few that make sweepstakes,” Coons said. “We have a couple who do make it all the way to the top level. But we’ve never, since I’ve been here, been able to get all four groups here.”

After working consistently and purposefully since the beginning of the year, Coons is proud of the group. One thing that makes them stand out from others in the past is the number of people in choir.

“Our numbers have gone down a lot more, about 20 people from where we usually are. Since COVID it’s just been a struggle to keep people in,” Coons said.

Less is sometimes more since this group has been able to earn sweepstakes in all choirs. Along with less people, this year the choir was competing at a Class 5A instead of 4A level, which added to the difficulty of the competition.

“The expectation on us was higher this year than it’s been since 2019,” Coons said. “We hit it really hard and heavy at the beginning and just were really diligent from the beginning through all the way to the end of the year.”

A lot more than just singing a song goes into performing and making music. Time was not on the choir’s side as they worked tirelessly to enhance their talents.

“It’s a lot of tedious learning notes, reviewing notes, going over it over and over, because every part has to know exactly what they’re doing so that you can then take those parts and make music out of them,” Coons said. “All the fun stuff that makes music interesting can’t happen until everybody knows what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Choir wasn’t the only group that shined as the band was also awarded sweepstakes as well.

“Normally we do well result-wise,” Studer said. “With the whole year and no judges seeing anything they didn’t like is pretty crazy because everybody, especially kids, has those days where you’re not your best.”

Though the band earned their trophy, Studer doesn’t want winning or a trophy to define how talented they are.

“I was talking to the kids all the time and saying trophies are for outsiders. They don’t really measure what you do,” Studer said. “They don’t really know what you do, you know what you’re best at and that’s what we try to measure off of.” 

At the end of the day, the band has worked tirelessly for their accomplishments. Every band did well, as well as the orchestra.

“The varsity and JV band, and varsity and JV orchestra all got sweepstakes. So that means for the year the marching band got straight ones,” Studer said. “Which means every judge said yes. So that’s crazy to not have any judge not think that. Then the middle school varsity band and orchestra did the same thing so that’s a pretty big deal.”

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Kylie Davenport, Editor in Chief

Kylie Davenport is a senior at Rider High School and is the Chronicle's editor-in-chief. Going into her second year on staff, she is nervous but excited...

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