A record number of Red Oak and Waxahachie high schools students advanced to the second round Region Auditions in the highly competitive All-State audition process.

Of the 30 choir members who represented Red Oak in the first round District Auditions held in September at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, 18 were put through to the next phase.

“This is the most we have had since I have been here. My first two years — we had 10 students make it,” said Red Oak Choir Director Keith Lathrom who has been directing the choir for three years.

“This year the ROHS Choral Program held a three-day camp at the end of July where the students prepared and rehearsed the music for the first round of auditions,” Lathrom added. “In addition to this camp, the students attend daily after-school rehearsals to prepare.”

Nine of 23 students from Waxahachie, under the leadership of Choir Director Jeremiah Leppert, also got the nod. Only four passed the first round last year.

“We are super pumped to see our students advancing,” Leppert cheered. “Nine is the most we have had advance in the first round in recent history. We are expecting big things out of these students.”

This is Leppert’s fourth year as the choir director.

To prove the competitive nature of the audition process, reports estimated that over 600 students from 35 schools competed in the first round at Woodrow Wilson.

Some 70,000 students in total auditioned across the state.

“Individual musicians perform selected music for a panel of judges who rank each instrument or voice part,” according to the Texas Music Educators Association which sponsors the audition process. “A select group of musicians advances to compete against musicians from other regions in their TMEA Area. The highest-ranking musicians judged at the TMEA Area competitions qualify to perform in one of 15 Texas All-State Bands, Orchestras, and Choirs.”

Lathrom and Leppert are hopeful their students will reach All-State this year. Last year, Red Oak Sophmore Davion Mouton made it to the final round Area Auditions.

“To see their excitement when they advance to the next round is one of the many highlights of my teaching career,” Lathrom said. “It is often those moments that I remember so vividly. It is in those moments that the students realize how much dedication and grit it takes to reach their goal. They set their expectations higher for themselves when they feel validated.”

The Region Auditions take place on Oct. 19 at Cedar Hill High School.

Waxahachie High School students headed to Region Auditions:

Melody Green, Soprano 2-2nd Chair (perfect sight-reading score)

Joselynne Hernandez, Soprano 1 3rd Chair

Bo McQueen, Bass 1, 8th Chair

Matthew Snowden, Tenor 1, 8th Chair

Connor Perry, Bass 1, 9th Chair

Bryce Marshall, Tenor 2, 10th Chair

Ian Granado, Tenor 1, 11th Chair

Emily Mitchell, Alto 2,13th Chair

John Cook, Tenor 1, 13th Chair

Red Oak High School students headed to Region Auditions:

Emma Cottrell, Soporano 1, 13th Chair

Kira Griffin, Soprano 1, 15th Chair

Evelyn Hernandez, Soprano 1, 18th Chair

Hannah Knight, Soprano 1, 2nd Chair

Kately Sanden, Soprano 1, 13th Chair

Avery Culpepper, Soprano 2, 10th Chair

Krystian Edwards, Soprano 2, 12th Chair

Emma Pitts, Soprano 2, 1st Chair

Alyssa Vogel, Alto 1, 4th Chair

Briannah Nelson, Alto 1, 4th Chair

Jorge Acevedo, Tenor 2, 11th Chair

Landon Blanton, Tenor 2, 8th Chair

Saadi EL-Saadi, Tenor 2, 7th Chair

Clifton Gray, Tenor 2, 11th Chair

Joshua Koiner, Bass 1, 3rd Chair

Dareon Johnson-White, Bass 2, 15th Chair

Davion Mouton, Bass 2, 1st Chair

Marcanthony Silva, Bass 2, 15th Chair