JACKSON, Wyo. —  Two Jackson Hole High School students have been named to Wyoming’s All-State Orchestra and Choir after an extensive and rigorous audition process.

From the JHHS Choir, Connor Weekes was selected as a Tenor 1. There were nearly 400 singers statewide who auditioned for the 20 slots available within his section.

Choir Director Jens Gade said, “This is Connor’s senior year and the third straight year he has been selected as an All-State musician. In my 14 years at JHHS, Connor is the first three-year All-State student I have had. I am exceptionally proud of Connor for being selected to take part in the Wyoming All-State Choir, and to do it year after year speaks to his skill and consistency.”  

Many members of the JHHS choir put in great effort to prepare for these rigorous tryouts, which included several scales, difficult excerpts taken from the All-State repertoire, and sight-reading. All of the auditions are performed a cappella, or without the aid of any accompaniment. Connor attended after-school rehearsals several days a week throughout the fall to prepare for the tryouts. Auditioning for All-State is a valuable process for any of the students who choose to participate. 

Gade said, “It really makes the students critique their own voices and realistically focus on specific aspects of their own performance that they should work on to help themselves improve.”

From the JHHS Orchestra Christian Lack has been selected for this year’s All-State Orchestra. Christian plays in the JHHS Orchestra and is a very talented bass player. He has a great ear and a sense of musicianship that comes easily for him. His knowledge of the fingerboard and the upper register is impressive as well as his ability to play fast passages. 

The student audition consists of a three-octave scale, and two prepared etudes. This year’s process was different due to Covid. Students recorded in their home towns and then submitted their best recording for judging, rather than travel to a recording site. The audition took place in early November and was graded by the Wyoming Music Educators Association. The judges listened to each recording and rated the top students. These are the best kids in the state that get to participate and it is a great honor.

 “Christian put in many hours of practice to get to this level and to make this happen. I’m extremely proud of his work especially under the strain of an unpredictable year. Let’s congratulate these fine students on their talents and musical accomplishments,” said Gutwein, involved in the JHHS orchestra.

The two JHHS musicians will perform virtually at the All-State concert in February. The concerts will be accessible to the public when completed.

Buckrail @ Jacob

Jacob Gore was born and raised in Cheyenne, the capital city of Wyoming. As a proud Wyomingite, he loves to share his home with visitors from around the world. Spending years in Jackson and Alaska as an interpretive nature guide, he remains a photographer, traveler, storyteller, and avid hobbyist of all-things outdoors. Jacob enjoys bridging the connection between Jackson and the rest of the state.