4 Lakers hit a high note in choir careers
The best high school singers around the state were invited to perform in Minneapolis.
DETROIT LAKES — Voices from several thousand Minnesota high school students rise and fall with cadence on any given school day. Of those students, about 600 are selected for All-State choir. Detroit Lakes High School saw Jenna Allen-DeRemer, Chase Housholder, Addison Lowell and Annie Houglum earn the high honor.
Choir teacher Nathan Thelen applauded the four students, stating they are “leaders with go-getter attitudes” that “inspire other choir students with their voice and actions.”
Thelen explained that the students auditioned to participate in the Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State program.
“Ten auditioned,” Thelen said. “They all did a nice job.”
When judges for the All-State program provided feedback, Thelen sat down with each student to chat about the experience.
“By auditioning, students are putting themselves out there,” he said. “It's a great experience; the more you do something the more comfortable and confident you become, and more prepared you feel for the next time.”
The students who were invited to attend the All-State event ventured to Saint John's University, which is west of St. Cloud, Minnesota, in August of 2022.
During the camp, All-State choir students met their guest conductor, worked on advanced techniques, rehearsed alongside the best high school-aged singers in the state and gave a concert.
“The All-State students then have a midwinter conference in February and give another concert,” Thelen said.
Houglum, who is a senior at DLHS, said the reunion concert was performed at the famed Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis on Feb. 18.
“The venue was crafted and engineered to perfectly deflect sound,” Houglum said. “I’m grateful I was part of it.”
Between taking in the acoustics of the venue, students reconnected with other All-State choir members and their conductors. In total, there were seven All-State ensembles with 584 students from 271 programs around the state. Three of the ensembles were choirs and four were instrumental.
Housholder, a junior at DLHS, said he joined choir after receiving encouragement from a teacher.
“I enjoyed it, so I stuck with it,” the tenor said, adding his current choir teacher provides a fun classroom atmosphere with high expectations.
Through dedication and listening to his instructors, he became a premiere voice that earned him the All-State choir title. Housholder learned much from the initial gathering, as well as the more recent second performance.
“This last time, I learned how important it is to stay hydrated,” he divulged.
His classmate, Allen-DeRemer, nodded in agreement. She explained the reunion event was a long, full day of rehearsing. After about eight hours, she said the curtains at the concert hall opened.
“By then, my voice was getting tired,” she said, adding that had she not been mindful to drink plenty of water, her voice may not have remained strong throughout the performance. While the event took a lot of energy and effort, Allen-DeRemer said she is thankful for the school district and her choir teacher for providing the opportunity.