Chamber choir participates in Star Spangled choir contest, prepares for Collage Concert


Choir students Ashley Wright and Meghana Subramanyam work on their songs for the college concert.

Evan Smyth, Staff Writer

The chamber choir was recently a top 10 finalist in the Star Spangled choir contest  and in the running to win $5,000 for the program and a chance to sing the “Star Spangeled Banner” at a Detroit Tigers game, but the choir didn’t come away with the win. Instead, Lake Orion High School choir took home the prize.

Kylie Davidson, a senior in chamber choir, was overjoyed to see her friends who graduated from RHS in the past.

“It was a lot of fun because choir is like a family, and some alumni came back to sing with us and it was a lot of fun to see them during the summer,” Davidson said. “I was sad that we didn’t win, but it was fun to compete and good to see that we made it this far.”

Junior Camiah Tutstone thought the contest was an exciting opportunity.

“Before [the contest] I had no idea what they were talking about. I have a tendency to mute group texts, but it was a lot of fun to get back together with some of the alumni,” Tutstone said. “I was proud of Lake Orion because I have some friends who go there and they deserved to win.”

Senior Kaelan Donovan stated that Lake Orion having a leg up on the choir doesn’t affect his love for singing, but would like to see more support.

“I guess it was hopeful until we saw the results. I realized we didn’t have a lot of support, but we had enough to make me feel good,” Donovan said. “I think we got swamped for a good number of reasons. It would have been fun and cool to win, but whatever.”

Choir director Mrs. Jolene Plotzke also believes that Rochester was at a disadvantage from the start.

“I am sad that we aren’t able to have the social media presence that Lake Orion had. Lake Orion students are allowed to vote in school via Facebook and Twitter,” Mrs. Plotzke said.  “They had kids vote every morning as part of their daily announcements. I feel like our recording sounded great and I wish it was based on the actual performance and not on how many votes we got.”

Mrs. Plotzke explains what it took to put together the video entry.

“We got together and sang it three times and then we recorded it.  That was it,” Mrs. Plotzke said. “There was never an opportunity for us to improve since we had to submit a recording.”

She also gave her input on whether or not the choir would enter any more contests done the line.

“Absolutely!” Mrs. Plotzke said. “I will if I hear about any other contests, we will enter.”

With the contest over, the choir is now looking towards the future, the Collage Concert, on October 28. Many of the students, including both Davidson and Tutstone, found love in the new songs they get to sing. Both students said that “Esto Les Digo” is their favorite song. Donovan loves all of them. Mrs. Plotzke lets us know what her favorite song is.

“I love ‘He Never Failed Me Yet’ by Robert Ray,” Mrs. Plotzke said. “It is a classic piece that will leave people smiling.”

The choir is in preparation mode for the big concert, which will showcase both the choirs and bands.

“We practice our pieces every day,” Mrs. Plotzke said. “We do voice building exercises and we sight read. I will be combining my students with the band to perform one number. The students will need to have the piece fairly memorized while the band kids will be reading sheet music. The choir will need to be flexible in order to follow the band conductor without much rehearsal. Combining our students’ talents together is always a crowd -pleaser.”