Golden State: A Triumph for Analy

Kate Peinkofer, Staff Writer

In California, the most prestigious and competitive high school choir event is called the California Golden State Choral Competition. With its two divisions, large choir and small choir, it is won every year by two ridiculously fantastic East Bay high school choirs. This year, for the first time ever, the Analy Chamber Singers were invited to compete.

Andy DelMonte, the choral director here at Analy, and the Chamber Singers were both thrilled and terrified to take on this challenge. We knew we were nowhere close to being on par with the other choirs we were to compete against.

As a choir of 33, we had to compete in the large choir division because the cutoff for the small choir division was 32 people. The required piece for the large choir division was “Christus Factus Est” by Anton Bruckner, a highly complicated and intense piece. We struggled with it for weeks but were finally able to sing it to the best of our abilities. We also decided to sing “Set Me as a Seal,” a very common contemporary choral piece by Rene Clausen, and a Mr. DelMonte Arrangement™ of “Bamboleo” with choreography. We were so excited!

Finally, on Tuesday, April 24th, we all climbed into various cars in full concert dress and made the journey to Pacific Union College in Angwin, CA. When we got there, the other choirs were everywhere (in much fancier and actually matching concert uniforms), and they were all so much larger than us. We took our seats and watched the other large choirs – all at least twice our size – perform.

Eventually, we made our way to a practice room to warm up. Standing in a circle and holding hands, Mr. D gave us his most inspiring speech yet. After, we were taken to line up outside the sanctuary where we would be performing, going over every critique we had ever been given in our heads. The doors opened, and we filed onto the risers, overwhelmed by the audience in front of us. Then we saw Mr. D smile, reminding us to do our best, and we started to sing.

The music flowed through us naturally, and the hours of practice all came back in those few short minutes. We sang the best we had sung these songs all year. We finished with “Bamboleo,” and the crowd went slightly wild as we were the only choir with real choreography. When we finished, we were greeted with cheers and a standing ovation – the complete opposite of what we had expected. We were elated and returned to our seats, proud of what we had done, knowing we had done our best.

Once everything was finished, we all met in the parking lot, huddling around Mr. D. To our great surprise, he announced we had finished in sixth place! We all burst into cheers. To us, taking sixth place was the same as taking first. We had come in as the smallest and least experienced choir, and we had not come in last. It was the proudest moment of the year for the Analy Chamber Singers. Here’s to more success in the future!