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Pictured left to right are: Lyndzy Silvers, Isaac King, Isabel Davis, Cage DuBois and Katelyn Ranck.

The joy of performing live has been severely curtailed for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, earlier this year, the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) vocal and piano solo and ensemble contest was moved to a virtual setup.

But, despite these obstacles, a handful of Southwood Jr./Sr. High School singers will have the opportunity to participate in a “prestigious honor” next week in front of a live audience, said choral director Susan Keefer.

Keefer said five Southwood students were selected to sing in the 2021 Indiana High School All-State Honor Choir (ASHC) at 8 p.m. Friday, June 4 at the Palladium at The Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Carter Green, Carmel.

“This choir is one of a handful of all-state groups from around the country that can perform in person,” said Keefer. “Because of COVID, choral safety protocol, the 2021 ASHC auditions and concert date were delayed and the choir had to be downsized to 150 students. The program has been shortened from six to four selections because of time constraints and safety and the size of the audience has also been strictly limited. The honor choir will rehearse all day.”

Keefer said the guest choral conductor for the ASHC is Dr. Jeffery Redding, the director of choral activities at the University of Central Florida and a Grammy Award-winning music educator. Redding has conducted the ACDA National High School Honor Choir, the Central Division ACDA Honor Choir, the North Central Division ACDA Honor Choir, the Eastern Division ACDA Honor Choir and All-State and Honor choirs in approximately 40 states.

“Nationally, Redding is in demand as a guest conductor and clinician,” said Keefer. “His bio is impressive.”

Southwood will be represented by Katelyn Ranck, Isabel Davis, Isaac King, Cage DuBois, and Lyndzy Silvers. This is Katelyn’s second year to be selected while the others are participating for the first time.

Keefer said Indiana’s Area 4A, which includes Kosciusko, Wabash, Huntington, Whitley, Wells and Adams counties, was allowed a quota of eight singers to be selected, “but was lucky to have more singers chosen.”

Katelyn Ranck, a sophomore, is the daughter of Brian and Sarah Ranck. This is her second year to be selected for the high school ASHC. In junior high and high school, she has earned gold medals at the district and state ISSMA contests for vocal solo and vocal ensembles. She was selected to participate in the Wabash County Honor Choir for two years. She sings in the church choir and plays piano. She is a high honor roll student and actively participates in 4-H.

Isabel Davis, a senior, is the daughter of Mike and Amy Davis. This is her first year to audition and be chosen for the ASHC. She has been a member of Southwood High School choirs for three years and has earned gold medals at the ISSMA vocal solo and ensemble district and state contests with vocal entries. She has also been selected for the Wabash County Honor Choir for two years in high school. She has been an active cheerleader earning an MVP award and named a three-time All-American Cheerleader.

Lyndzy Silvers, a sophomore, is the daughter of Doyle Silvers and Janet Hixson. This is her first year in the ASHC. She has been a member of Southwood High School choirs and band for two years. She was also selected for the Wabash County honor choir for two years and the county honor band for one year in high school. She earned gold medals for vocal solos and ensembles at the ISSMA vocal solo and ensemble district and state contests. She participated in Regional Honor Band in 2018 and 2019 and ISSMA instrumental contest for two years.

Cage DuBois, a senior, is the son of Karin and Tommy DuBois. This is his first year in the ASHC. He has been a member of Southwood high school choirs for four years and band for several years. He was also selected for the Wabash County Honor Choir for four years and has earned gold medals each of his four years at the ISSMA vocal solo and ensemble district and state contests with vocal solos. He has also been active in theater productions for six years. He hopes to pursue a career in filmmaking.

Isaac King, a senior, is the son of Robin and Stacy Cooper. This is his first year to audition for the ASHC. He has been a member of Southwood high school choirs for four years. He was selected for the Wabash County Honor Choir for four years in high school, participated two years in the ISSMA vocal solo and ensemble contests and earned a gold medal for his vocal solo at the district and state contests this year. Isaac has also been successful in football and wrestling earning Southwood’s most outstanding wrestler award for two years and earned All State Wrestling Academic Honorable Mention for two years.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com.