After weeks of practice and multiple auditions, Alyssa Buckman, a sophomore choir student from Bowman County School, was accepted to the Northwest International Festival of Music at Minot State University and the Northern Plains Music Festival at Dickinson State University.
By Frank Turner
At the festivals she joined over a hundred other high schools in the tri-state (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana) region to sing in a regional choir.
According to Charmaine Martian, Bowman County School’s band and choir director, choir students have to go through an intense audition process to be accepted into the regional festivals. To be considered, Buckman had to audition with a wide range of music selections, including music scales, an A Capella piece, and a solo.
Once accepted, the choir students prepare five music pieces and rehearse the music separately before the festival. Then at the festival, the students form a mass choir and spend two days putting everything together for a large performance at the end of the week.
“Only the best people get in,” said Martian. “Out of all those people, they are chosen to form a mass choir. In Minot, well over a hundred kids gathered to create three choirs and two bands.”
Buckman, who has been involved in choir for over four years, said she was elated when she discovered that she qualified for both the Minot and Dickson music festivals. Last year, Buckman auditioned for both festivals but only qualified for the Dickinson festival.
“I was super excited to go to Dickinson and Minot,” said Buckman. “Getting into both was really exciting.”
Overall, Matian said that Buckman getting accepted into the festivals was a “huge accomplishment” and one worth celebrating.
“It’s a huge accomplishment because students are competing against Class A schools,” said Martian. “Schools where kids just focus on music. Students from the Class B schools are competing against students that just focus on music all the time.”
At the Minot festival, Buckman sang in the women’s choir as a tenor. Buckman said the experience was an unnerving but also unforgettable experience.
“Leading up to the festival I was anxious and nervous, but once I got to the actual choir, sat down, and just started singing, it was just fun,” said Buckman.
“During the breaks, you get to the know the people around you, and I actually made some really good friends.”
She continued, “I think I will always keep music in my life. I’ll keep going to these festivals because I meet new people and learn a lot about my voice. Maybe in the future I can have a teaching degree where I do something with music.”