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Trio of Great Falls students heading to prestigious choir event

Trio of Great Falls students heading to prestigious choir event
Posted at 4:38 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 20:16:23-05

The American Choral Director’s Association National Conference is one of the more prestigious events for high school choir students in the nation. It’s intended for the best of the best.

And Great Falls students Morgan Dunn, Cole Stuart and Tabitha Poppe fit the bill. Dunn and Stuart from CMR High School and Poppe from Great Falls High School will travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, later this month for the ACDA conference. Poppe and Dunn will also attend the NAfME All-Northwest Conference in Seattle this week, before hopping on a plane and heading directly to the midwest.

The audition process was intense.

“There were specific requirements that you had to turn in for the audition and then judges will judge them and they'll pick who they want to attend,” Dunn said.

Morgan Dunn

“We had to sing a couple of scales. And then there were a couple fragments of songs you had to sing that were from the music we're going to be singing at nationals,” Stuart said.  “And then you had to sing a solo piece.”

But the payoff was worth the effort.

“Finding out I made, this is one of my dreams and I did it. I cried,” Poppe said. “Choir is my life. So this is probably one of my biggest accomplishments right now.”

Tabitha Poppe

And now they get the chance to sing alongside likeminded individuals and in front of industry influencers. And if they hit the right notes, it might open doors for their future.

“If there’s 100 people in my choir then 25 of the people with my same part are the best in the nation,” Stuart said. “I’ve talked to people who went to nationals and it led to a college scholarship. So it’s a big deal. It’s real.”

Cole Stuart

The students say it’s a reflection on the programs in Great Falls Public Schools. They point to their choir teachers, Jordan Lee at CMR and Patrick Ryan at GFH, as inspirations.

“I’ve been singing all of my life, but this past year I found my passion for music education and  wanting to teach kids my love of music,” Poppe said. “Before this, I was going to be a game warden. I had no idea that this is where choir was going to take me.”

For one week at least it will take them to Cincinnati, Ohio, for a life-changing opportunity.

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