Two Wylie Choir Students earned spots in the TMEA’s All-State Small School Mixed Choir and performed with top students from across the state in the All-State Concerts in mid February.
Seniors Claire Shuler and Katy Garcia earned the honors. Although both have earned numerous other choir honors in their careers at Wylie, this year was the first time to earn All-State.
“It’s hard when you get to area,” Claire said. “They are all really good. Everyone that’s there deserves to be there.”
Claire has been singing since about kindergarten, when she discovered musical theater.
“I remember going to some shows that APAC (Abilene Performing Arts Company) put on and I said, ‘Mom, I want to do that.’ My mom is musically talented as well. I got the musical gene from her. She encouraged me to pursue it.”
So Claire took musical theater classes and performed in numerous productions. But it wasn’t until she moved to Wylie in 8th grade that she got serious about choir.
She said musical theater and choir are very, very different.
“I like both for different reasons,” she said. “I like APAC because I also like to dance, but in choir, it’s a different type of music. I get to do different things with my voice.”
Claire also uses her musical talents in other ways. She leads worship at Broadview Baptist, and she plays piano. She just recently began teaching piano. She plans to attend HSU after graduation and study music education in hopes of teaching either elementary or high school music.
She said that making All-State is the realization of a long-time goal.
Although she has been a regular in the All-Region Choir, her real desire was to make All-State.
“All-Region was good, but not what I was hoping for,” she said. “Everyone wants to make All-State. This is my year to make it.”
Katy knew in preschool, when she belted out a rendition of the National Anthem, that music was her thing.
“When I was in preschool I performed the National Anthem in front of 200 or so people,” she said. “According to my mom, that just started my love for music.”
But it was in 6th-grade, when she had to chose between band and choir, that her course was set.
“I was not going to do band,” she said. “I couldn’t get any instrument to work. It just did not click. I played violin and the piano for awhile, but I could not find passion in it.”
So she picked choir, where choir director Robin Davis discovered her talent.
“Mrs. Davis is the one who really got me started in competing,” Katy said. “I don’t know how she recognized that I would be good at it, but she did.”
Katy has been close to state before, but never quite got over that hump.
“I think of all these auditions as school tests,” she said. “I typically worry myself to death before any tests. I just go over my music a lot. I will occasionally play it while I am asleep. I don’t know if that gets it stuck in my head or not.”
When she is not singing, Katy likes to ride her horse. She plans to be a therapist although she isn’t sure where she will go to college.
“My mom and her mom before her were both LPCs (licensed professional counselors),” Katy said. “I really like helping people – helping them feel better – but I can’t deal with the site of blood.”