DALLAS — Months of hard work and constant practice was the key to the success of the Red Oak High School choir students who competed in the UIL Solo and Ensemble contest at Townview Magnet School in Dallas. Of the 32 students who participated, 24 earned a first division rating, and 11 qualified to sing at the UIL State Solo and Ensemble contest at the University of Texas at Austin in May.

Senior Taylor Stanford has been involved in choir since sixth-grade. Stanford has enjoyed her time as choir student but plans to pursue a career in children's ministry following graduation.

“Last year was my first year to compete, but I didn’t go to state. A lot of us have been preparing for this for a while now. We got our music a couple of months ago and have been working ever since,” Stanford said.

She then noted that ROHS students involved in the choir are offered a voice coach for lessons, in and out of class time.

“We have two voice coaches. They come during the week and work with us one on one for thirty minutes or so,” Stanford explained. “Our voice coaches typically pick the song we perform for us, or they will give us options to choose from. Usually, we try to find a song that compliments our voice and ranges the best.”

Without the help of her voice coach Melissa Orka, Stanford said the auditions would be much more difficult.

“The process is definitely nerve wracking, but the support I’ve had from my teacher and voice coach really helped me prepare for this. That builds confidence and helped me feel more prepared as well,” Stanford said. “I’m really nervous for state because I’ve never gone through that process. I’m hoping that I do well since it is my senior year and it will be my last time to compete.”

Agreeing with Stanford, freshman Briannah Nelson shared that she was nervous as well in for her audition. Nelson plans to further her career in music after college with hopes to attend Texas A&M University.

“I’ve been doing solo and ensemble since seventh grade, but I started choir in third grade. I liked it a lot. I was pretty nervous at first, but once I got in there and going I felt better about it,” Nelson said.

Choir Director Julia Cooper shared in an ROISD press release that a “solo contest is a great opportunity for choir students, who usually sing together, to a sing a solo. I am so proud of them for growing musically through this whole process.”